Delhi

Delhi HC seeks AWBI’s response on status of circus animals

A view of Delhi High Court in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Delhi High Court on Monday came down on the Animals Welfare Board of India (AWBI) for not having information about the animals in circuses that have been shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh remarked that AWBI, despite being the authority concerned, was not aware of the whereabouts of the animals. This appeared to be a complete dereliction of duty.

The High Court directed the Secretary of AWBI to be present before the court at the next hearing on February 9 to explain the lapse. It also asked the authorities to submit a report disclosing the whereabouts of all the animals in circuses in the country.

“Lack of care and attention to the captive animals can prove fatal for them. It appears that the AWBI is not sensitive to this need,” the bench remarked while cautioning that it would not hesitate to initiate contempt action against the authorities.

The High Court’s remarks came during the hearing of two separate petitions filed by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Federation of Indian Animals Protection Organisation (FIAPO) seeking a direction to protect circus animals.

PETA, represented by senior advocate Priya Hingorani, said it was awaiting response on its application since January this year, to issue show-cause notice to circuses and cancel their registration certificates for violations.

Earlier, the High Court had asked AWBI to submit details of animals and circuses that have closed down during the pandemic.

Last year, the High Court had said that out of 740 animals registered with the AWBI, information was available only on 28. This, the court had said, was a serious issue.

In its petition, PETA India claimed that due to the COVID-19 outbreak and resultant lockdown, circuses were finding it difficult to feed the animals.

PETA has also sought a direction to the Centre to immediately notify the Performing Animals (Registration) Amendment Rules of 2018 which expressly prohibits training and exhibition of performing animals in circuses and “mobile entertainment facilities”.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 12:49:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/delhi-hc-seeks-awbis-response-on-status-of-circus-animals/article37762497.ece

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