PT Dilip, the owner of Rambo Circus, and Delhi-based Naresh Kadyan, ex-duty magistrate, master trainer, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and Chairman, People for Animals (PFA) Haryana, have jointly written to the Pune Collector, Commissioner of Police, New Sanghvi Police Station, Chief Conservator of Forest and DFO, Pune, demanding custody of the confiscated animals during court trials being the legal owner of the animals. Kadyan was in Pune on Wednesday.
“Animal welfare has become a business in India. There is a lobby of anti-circus, anti-jallikattu and anti-bullock cart races, who have their vested interests. Even I was against jallikattu initially but noted later that all the bullocks that were used for jallikattu when taken away, were all slaughtered at slaughter houses. Wasn’t this against their rights? At least they were living when they were used for jallikattu. The same is happening in the case of Rambo Circus,” said Kadyan.
Being associated with AWBI for more than 15 years, he said, “AWBI’s job is to monitor animal cruelty and not go around confiscating animals. According to the Wildlife Protection Act’s Section 3, wrongful seizure of animals is a punishable offence,” said Kadyan. “If the circus is wrong somewhere, then your job is to regulate it. They can appoint their person to train the circus staff or depute an honorary welfare officer to monitor the circus. The CCTV cameras can be installed and can be reviewed at regular intervals. How will the 100-plus circus artistes earn their living if their source of livelihood is snatched away? The AWBI has only been creating problems and not offering any solutions,” he adds.
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Kadyan also stated that as per information gathered by him under the RTI Act from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), not a single rescue centre has been recognised under section 38-H of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 by the CZA and hence, confiscation of four elephants and keeping them with an unregistered establishment is against the law. The Indian Express has a copy of the RTI document.
Prashant Acharya, senior campaign manager of FIAPO, who assists AWBI in circus-related work, said, “The circus has violated PCA Act on many levels, besides it has also ignored AWBI’s notice related to cancellation of performance cancellation licence. Though as per the rules it is the local administration that is authorised to confiscate the animals, in this particular case, since the administration failed to do so, we being the implementing agency, did the needful.”