After PETA India Investigation, India to End Circuses’ Use of Elephants

Government Board Announces End of 'Registration of Elephants for Performance,' Intent to Seize Abused Elephants for Rehabilitation

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Chennai, India – Chennai — Following PETA India’s government-authorized, nine-month-long investigation of circuses across India, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has confirmed its support of a ban on the use of elephants in circuses and announced that it will no longer register elephants for performance “in view of huge cruelties and abuse suffered by them.” Furthermore, the AWBI will order the circuses mentioned in PETA India’s report to relinquish all elderly and injured animals used in their shows, will arrange for the animals’ rehabilitation, and will serve legal notices to circuses that force “sick, injured and unregistered animals” to perform.

“PETA India and its affiliates around the world are celebrating today: The end of the use and abuse of elephants in Indian circuses is on the way,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “There’s no excuse for violently forcing elephants to perform painful tricks in circuses, and PETA will push the U.S. to follow India’s example and put an end to archaic circuses that use animals.”

PETA India’s investigation was conducted from November 2012 to July 2013 and included inspections of more than a dozen circuses. The group found rampant abuse of animals, including that handlers beat animals with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end. Among other abuse, the group observed that drunken circus staff members handled animals; circuses kept elephants, dogs, cats, birds, and other animals continuously chained or caged; elephants, camels, dogs, and other animals exhibited signs of severe psychological distress, including constant swaying and even self-mutilation; and animals were deprived of veterinary care, appropriate food, sufficient water, and safe and clean shelter.

India's complete reports, photographs, and videos are available upon request. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind