A ban on the use of all wild animals in circuses throughout India has been put in place. According to India Today, the ban was started by India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change after reports emerged of mistreatment of animals.

The country’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act had previously held a ban on using bears, monkeys, panthers, lions, and tigers for entertainment purposes, however, elephants were continued to be used.

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Following reports of abuse, a year-long investigation was launched. This was directed by Central Zoo Authority and supported by animal rights groups. The inquiry exposed severe cruelty and abuse inflicted on performance animals.

The 2009 Recognition of Zoo Rules states that specific guidelines must be met, including waste removal, adequate space, and good animal health. However, it was uncovered that all circuses inspected were in violation of these terms.

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According to India Today, experts concluded that “cruelty is inherent in circuses” and “wild animals undergo unnecessary pain and suffering when they are trained and forced to perform”.

The new laws mean elephants have been listed as protected. Now, no wild animals are permitted to be used in circuses in India.

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Multiple establishments have been deregistered under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. All circuses that previously showcased wild animals as entertainment have been deregistered and are officially unrecognized.

India joins other countries taking a stance against animal cruelty in entertainment.

The Central Zoo Authority has appointed the Chief Wildlife Warden of States to rehabilitate the animals.