Animal Welfare Board of India bans circus use of elephants

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:
MUMBAI––The Animal Welfare Board of India on November 15,
2013 announced that it will no longer license elephants for circus use,
and will prosecute circuses that use sick, injured, and unlicensed
animals.
The AWBI acted in response to a nine-month investigation by a
team including representatives from the advocacy organizations
PETA/India and Animal Rahat, reported Vijay Singh of the Times of
India.
“PETA/India’s findings will be forwarded to the Central Zoo
Authority for further action,” Singh added.
The Central Zoo Authority in November 2009 decreed that
elephants may no longer be exhibited by zoos and circuses, but had been
unable to enforce the decree against circuses while the Animal Welfare
Board continued to authorize elephant use.
The Supreme Court of India in 2001 upheld a ban on the use of
bears, monkeys, and big cats in circuses. More than 280 lions, 40
tigers, and scores of aging ex-performing bears were transferred to
CZA-accredited Animal Rescue Centres near Agra, Bangalore, Bhopal,
Chennai, Jaipur, Tirupati, and Visakhapatnam. Since many of those
animals are now deceased, some of the Animal Rescue Centre space may
now be converted to house ex-circus elephants.
India has about 3,500 captive elephants, the most of any
nation; a 3,500-year history of elephant use and exhibition; about
28,000 elephants left in the wild, more than half of the total
population of Asian elephants; and the longest record of protecting
both elephants and elephant habitat, beginning about 2,240 years ago.

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