The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) Wednesday filed a reply in the Bombay High court detailing alleged violations and breaches, including animal cruelty, by the popular Gemini Circus, based on which their Performing Animals Registration was cancelled a year ago.
As a result, the company, over the last year, has not used animals for its performances.
The AWBI, an authorised body under the Centre, had given the circus registration for performance by animals in 2004. It was cancelled last year after an inspection, and the company moved the HC in July against this.
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The board has claimed there were several lapses by the company with respect to animal care. After conducting inspections at the company’s various venues, the board had prepared an investigation report, which included photographs revealing that many animals inside the circus were not registered with the board, among other alleged violations. A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade was hearing the petition.
“A female trainer tapped a dog’s front legs with a metal rod, animals were kept in crammed cages without food and water, horses couldn’t walk because of overgrown hooves and were hit with wooden sticks, wings of birds were clipped, wound marks and swollen legs of animals were visible, birds were coerced into performing,” the board’s observations submitted to the court include.
Gemini Circus, in its petition, has stated that the animals were under proper care as per the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules and various other Acts pertaining to animal protection. The petition also said that despite responding to the board’s show cause notice and filing a fresh application to reconsider the decision, it failed to get a response from the board. The matter will next be heard on December 7.