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End Circus Cruelty!

New Delhi, 23rd February 2017: In a major development, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has written to the Animal Welfare Division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF&CC), saying that it ‘fully supports’ the proposal to stop use of elephants to perform in circuses.This decision holds furthermore significance in the context of a movement by school children, under which they met the Secretary (MoEF&CC), Mr. Ajay Narayan Jha yesterday and shared with him 1000 postcards, signed by children from across India, requesting for an end to animal circuses.

In its letter, CZA has said that it has been monitoring circuses since 2003, and that it has de-recognized all but one circus previously recognized by it due to extreme cruelty and owing to violation of rules under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. As the CZA’s ambit is only wild animals, it has recommended the stoppage of using elephants in circuses. Furthermore, it has requested the Animal Welfare Board of India, which regulates the use of all other animals in performance, to take similar action.

Additionally, the CZA has also requested the state forest departments to cancel the ownership certificates and rehabilitate elephants in possession of circuses that it had earlier de-recognized.

CZA’s decision is in agreement with the claims of many NGOs that circuses animals are mistreated and abused. This move has paved the way for what can probably be the country’s most systematic rehabilitation of captive elephants in circuses and is in line with the trend internationally, where the world famous Ringling Brothers circus retired all their elephants recently. The agency has asked the ministry to involve the AWBI and Project Elephant to more actively participate in the process.

“This is the most progressive move so far by any government body in ensuring the effective protection of a schedule 1 species which continues to suffer in the hands of its human ‘owners’. We are delighted at CZA’s decision to write to MoEF&CC, to stop the use of elephants to perform in circuses. There have been numerous official inspection reports and notices, documenting widespread illegalities and cruelty in circuses and it is about time consideration is given to put an end to this extreme form of animal abuse.” Said Arpan Sharma, Director, FIAPO

“I am thrilled to have met the Secretary Mr. Jha and IG Mr. SoumitraDasgupta. I shared with them my experience of visiting a circus in Noida last year, where I saw animals being abused and forced, with whips, sticks and sharp instruments, to perform tricks for the audience. Backstage, I saw that the dogs were living in small rusted cages, some birds had lost all feathers, and I could see all the wounds on the horses. My friends have had similar experiences too and wedo not consider this as entertainment. We also delivered 1000 handwritten postcards from children of my age from different cities asking for stoppage of this abuse. Mr. Jha assured us that he will take steps to ensure animals don’t continue to suffer in circuses,” said Meenu, the leader of the student delegation.

Inspection reports by government veterinarians and experts had put welfare of animals as of paramount importance in circuses. Involvement of the Project Elephant and state forest departments will mean that the ownership of rehabilitated elephants will be with the state with no scope for vested interests to use them for personal gain.

Date : 24 Feb 2017

Amritsar Municipal Corporation Unsuccessful in Implementing Laws to Prevent Dog-Bites

Delhi, 22th February 2017:In light of the recent incident at Tarn Taran district, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO) has asked the Municipal Corporation of Amritsar to implement a large-scale Animal Birth Control programme to provide a long-term solution that ensures human and animal welfare instead of resorting to short-term, ineffective and illegal methods that displace or destroy dogs.

The only scientific and successful method of resolving the human-animal conflict and prevent dog bites and rabies is by ensuring a rigorous Animal Birth Control programme, by which street dogs are caught, surgically made sterile and then left at their original territories after being administered a preventive shot of rabies. There are many success stories of the impact of this program; especially in the cities like Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai.

The ABC programme currently undertaken by the Municipal Corporation is inadequately small and thus completely ineffective. Research shows that at least 70% of the dogs need to be sterilised for the programme to have an impact, whereas the current coverage of the AMC is nowhere near that. In a recent order Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, it has been held that, “it is suffice to say that all the State municipal corporations, municipal committees, district boards and local bodies shall be guided by the Act and the Rules and it is the duty and obligation of the Animal Welfare Board to see that they are followed with all seriousness. It is also the duty of all the municipal corporations to provide infrastructure as mandated in the statute and the rules.”

It was further observed that, “no innovative method or subterfuge should be adopted not to carry out the responsibility under the 1960 Act or the 2001 Rules. Any kind of laxity while carrying out statutory obligations is not countenanced in law.”  Relocation of dogs is not only illegal, but also causes a dog- vacuum in that location which gives way to the untreated non vaccinated dogs who are not familiar with the locality and often bark at the people crossing by to mark and claim their new territory. It also inhibits from keeping a check on the number of sterilized dog count in the city. Animal Birth Control (dogs), 2001, prohibits the relocation of these animals after treatment.

Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO said “Large scale and consistent Animal Birth Control programmes are the only way to reduce incidents of dog-bites and rabies. It is the duty of the Municipal Corporations to adhere to rules of the land and only use scientific and legal methods to control dog population. The Animal Birth Control Rules obligates the local authority to conduct sterilization and immunization as a method to control street dogs and if the Municipal Corporation is indeed concerned about the increased dog-bites, it should immediately provide adequate infrastructure and set-up a large-scale ABC programme.”

Date : 22 Feb 2017

World’s 1st Vegan to Climb Mt. Everest, KuntalJoisher joins FIAPO’s Don’t Get Milked Campaign

Breaks dairy myths and urges youth to question the lies being fed by the dairy industry

Delhi, 18th February 2017: Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), India’s apex animal rights organization, today announced the coming on-board of vegan celebrity, KuntalJoisher, who is the first vegan globally to scale the heights of the world’s highest peak- Mt. Everest, for its ‘Don’t Get Milked campaign.

The campaign aims to showcase the reality of the dairy industry and question the lies that the world of dairy marketing has been propagating around a healthy cow, happily providing her milk for human consumption. FIAPO has earlier done an investigation around “The state of Dairy Cattle in Rajasthan”, that had revealed some shocking truths. Among other things, the evidence showed indiscriminate use of banned and illegal drugs such as Oxytocin for increasingand releasing huge quantities of milk, lack of basic infrastructure, food and veterinary care for thecattle and violation of the Slaughter Rules, 2001 by selling calves as young as one month and old,infirm animals for slaughter.

Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO, said that “In the last decade there has been a tremendous shift in how cattle is perceived. They have become mere milking machine but we are not shown the real picture of how the animals are abused. Moreover, we are fed blatant lies about milk being healthy and important for consumption. Don’t Get Milked asks a simple question of how milk of one animal can be healthy for the consumption of another? We do not see piglets or puppies any other species drinking milk from other animals.We are certain that with a powerful influencerlike Kuntalcoming on board, we will be able to break some of the myths surrounding milk and milk consumption.” Added, Ms. Mehrotra

Mr. KuntalJoisher is the world’s first vegan to scale the mammoth heights of the Mt. Everest. On being part of the campaign, he shared that “I am mountaineer by passion and a vegan because of compassion. I am delighted to be a part of the campaign because I want to let people know that physical strength and stamina has nothing to do with consumption of milk. My diet constitutes of only plant based cruelty-free food and I have been able to survive and climb mountains based on it!”

“Getting such inspirational people on board for the Don’tGetMilked campaign will definitely motivate the youth of India to think and question the ‘white lies’ and choose compassion by using dairy alternatives in their diets instead of the mythical glass of liquid white gold and understand the true benefits of a plant based diet. If someone can climb Mt. Everest, someone can reduce risk of cancer or diabetes, someone can become a fitness coach on a plant based diet, and then what’s stopping us from ditching dairy?” questioned Ms. Mehrotra

Date : 20 Feb 2017

Need air for life? To find out, put kitten in a box, says textbook

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) received a complaint last week, prompting the organisation to launch a formal protest against the publishers of the book.

Text book against Animal rights, Delhi text book against Animal rights, Animal rights and text books, latest news, Delhi news, India news, National news From the book, used in some schools to teach environmental science

A textbook being used in some schools in north India, including in a prominent school in the capital, asks students to put a kitten in an unventilated box and wait for it to die to demonstrate that living beings cannot live without air. “No living thing can live without air for more than a few minutes. You can do an experiment. Take two wooden boxes. Make holes on the lid of one box. Put a small kitten in each box. Close the boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten inside the box without holes has died,” reads the textbook, meant for Class IV students.

The book — Our Green World by PP Publications — is used in some schools to teach environmental science.

After this was brought to their notice by a shocked parent a couple of months ago, publishers have stopped distribution of the book, said Parvesh Gupta of PP Publications.

“A parent had called us a couple of months ago and asked us to remove the text from the book because it was harmful for children. We recalled books from our distribution channel and will come out with a revised book next year,” he said.

Gupta also said he was not aware of the number of schools that were using the textbook.

The book, however, is still being taught to children in schools that had already purchased it.

Recently, a group of parents objected to the text and wrote to animal rights activists.

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) received a complaint last week, prompting the organisation to launch a formal protest against the publishers of the book.

“We spoke to the publishers and told them about the objectionable material. They agreed to discontinue the book and also said they would come out with a new edition for next year,” said Vidhi Matta, spokesperson, FIAPO.

Schools in Delhi are free to use any textbook they like — till Class VIII at least. Even beyond that, schools can choose the books they want to teach, but also have to follow the syllabus prescribed by the education board. Delhi government schools only use books published by the NCERT.

Tradition, culture or cruelty?

What started as a peaceful protest to lift the ban on Jallikattu, the traditional sport of bull-taming played on the occasion of Pongal in Tamil Nadu, opened a veritable Pandora’s Box. While political leaders, intellectuals, film actors, right wings activists as well as animal activists jumped into the fray, fiercely debating over animal rights versus tradition, a chorus has risen across the country to permit other animal sport as well. The protest at Marina Beach, which soon turned violent, may well be the precursor to legalise these games in the name of tradition and culture.

While animal activists have documented the cruelty meted out to animals and the courts point to animal rights under Indian law, those promoting these animal sports, some of which are being played for centuries, insist they helped preserve some of the Indian breeds, which have been driven to the brink of extinction.

Animal rights activists and organisations, including PETA (People for Ethical Treatnent of Animals), have opined that sport involving animals is cruel as they are goaded to perform. Animals being raced, including bulls and bullocks, are whipped to get them to run fast. Those pitted against each other often fight to the finish. What kind of sports are these in this age of technology, the animal lovers wonder.

What emerged from this entire debate was that animals became the talking point. The big question now is how far will animals become part of festivities? How long one will animals be used to showcase emotions? What about the emotion of animals? Jallikattu is just such festival sport, but there are many such festivals in India, leave alone the world, where animals are used as a pawn. While some activists call for a total ban, others insist regulation is the way to go and ensure no cruelty is meted out.

Hoards of festivals

Jallikattu, celebrated across Tamil Nadu on the second day of Pongal, was described as “Yeru thazhuvuthal”, which means embracing the bull. The word, Jallikattu comes from salli or jalli (coins) and kattu (bag), which refers a bag of coins, which was tied to the bull’s horns and the winner had to retrieve. It has been part of their tradition and culture, and celebrated across the state on the second day of Pongal.

What was traditionally full of fun and gaiety, has now turned into a big-money sport. Bulls are specially trained and as they balk at the sight of a cheering crowd, are goaded to run. Animal activists have recorded instances of forcing alcohol down the throat of the animal, chilli powder rubbed into its eyes and tail twisted or even bitten.

What many people may not realise is that almost every Indian state has some or the other festival, where animals are part of celebrations. Listed here are some of the major ones:

Cart race

Kambala is a buffalo race, very popular in South Karnataka. In this two buffaloes are tied to a plough and raced as a team across paddy fields filled with slush and mud. Traditionally a non-competitive race, the Kambala season starts in November and lasts until March and is held annually in coastal Karnataka as well as parts of Kerala. The use of whips to race the buffaloes has been criticised. With the Supreme Court in 2014 banning use of bulls and buffaloes as performing animals, this sport too came under the scan. The state high court on 18 November, 2016, passed an interim stay order stopping all Kambala events in the state.

Bullock cart racing is also held in Maharashtra and is very popular in Marathwada, Konkan and Western Maharasthra. The festival goes back around 450 years back, but unlike Tamil Nadu, does not have any link with any festival. Besides, bull/bullock/ox or even horse cart racing are held in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh during Pola, parts of Gujarat, at cattle fairs in Uttar Pradesh and in villages of West Bengal on Dasami day.

Cock fights

This blood sport was also highlighted over the last few months as it is mainly indulged in during Sankranti festival in Andhra Pradesh. Stakes run into hundreds of crores of rupees as two roosters lash out at each other. Sharp blades are tied to the legs and it usually ends with the vanquished getting killed.

There is evidence of cock-fighting in the Indus Valley Civilization and was a popular sport in China, Persia and ancient Greece. In India now, cock-fight is a gambling game and can also be seen in Karnataka, Kerala and Jharkhand. Indian judiciary has banned the sport though it is still conducted illegally.

Bulbul fights

Organised during the harvest festival of Assam, Bhogali Bihu, which coincides with Makar Sankranti, bulbuls are fed with intoxicating concoctions to make them aggressive and fight. The birds sustain injuries during the fight and losers are let off after trimming the crest so that they do not enter a contest again. There is no betting on the fights. This very popular sport has now been banned by the courts.

Dog fight

This is a blood sport that came into India mainly from medieval Europe through Afghanistan. It is now surreptiously organised in farm houses on the outskirts of Delhi. Two game dogs are pitted against one another for the entertainment of the spectators. The dogs are kept in cages, without food for days on end, angering and maddening them and are then unleashed on each other. They are made to fight till one of them dies. Bets of lakhs are placed on the winning dog. The blood sport is banned but despite a few arrests, the popularity of the sport hasn’t decreased.


In the Vadakkumnatha Temple, Thrissur, festival an elephant procession is held. Activists points out that a lot of atrocities is meted out to the pachyderms ~ they are shackled in chains throughout the day before taking them to the parade. At times, the bustling crowd, loud music and fireworks create extreme stress. The same was true of the Jaipur Elephant Festival. Fortunately, however, the festival was banned a few years back but usage of elephants haven’t been stopped. Now they are used to ferry tourists in Amber fort situated in Jaipur.

What the law says

India has one of the toughest animals rights laws in the world. The Animal Welfare Board of India have listed out certain dos and donts to ensure the rights of animals. Under article 51A (g) it is the Fundamental Duty of every citizen to have compassion for all living creatures. To kill or maim any animal, including stray animals, is a punishable offence. Abandoning any animal for any reason can land one in prison for up to three months. Neglecting an animal is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to three months or both.

Monkeys, bears, tigers, panthers, lions and bulls are prohibited from being trained and are protected under the Wildlife Law and cannot be displayed or owned or used for entertainment purposes. Animal sacrifice is illegal in every part of the country.

But then, they say, laws are made to be broken. Animal rights activists say if government had stuck to these rules and regulation, the situation would have been far better. One didn’t have to wait court orders. “Have you ever heard of anyone being punished because of hampering animal rights? No,” asserted an activist.

To ban or not to

Fighting for animals rights is not new in the country. It has been done for years by different organisation like PETA, PFA (People for Animals) run by Maneka Gandhi, FIAPO and many others. At times, court also played a vital role. For instance, the Jallikattu verdict by Supreme Court in 2014, disallowing bulls to be allowed as performing animals. The court has also asked Parliament to give more teeth to the animal right rules. “Elevate rights of animals to that of Constitutional rights, as done by many of the countries around the world, so as to protect their dignity and honour,” the court has said.

A member of PETA said in an e-mail interaction, “PETA India’s motto is, in part, that animals are not ours to use for entertainment. That’s because animals, like humans, have the capacity to feel pain and do not want to suffer, and it is our moral duty not to cause them harm. Animals are not willing participants in spectacles like jallikattu, elephant processions and rides and so on and so violence is used to force them to take part.”

Other animal rights NGOs also shared their concern at using animals during festivals. Arpan Sharma, director, external affairs, FIAPO said, “Using of animals in religious festivities, religious sacrifice, warfare, entertainment, experimentation, luxuries such as leather, and so on, needs to be stopped.”
Stating that between 2008-2014, not only bulls died but also over 5,000 people got injured and 43 died in

Jallikattu events from panicked bulls trying to flee, the PETA activist said, “With changing times, culture and tradition must evolve to ensure no animals or humans are harmed. Animals are not natural or willing performers or participants in these spectacles: they are forced to perform un-natural tricks and actions through the use of violence.”

According to figures compiled by the Heritage Animal Task Force, captive elephants have killed more than 526 people in Kerala within a span of 15 years alone.

The anti-ban argument to allow this festival to take place is employment to locals. Be it bull fight, bullock cart race, cock fights or others, they provide employment, the promoters claim. Farmers provide extra attention to the animal and if the ban is enforced, there will be no incentive to hold on to the bulls or any other animal. Tamil Nadu has six native breeds, one of them called Alambadi, which is extinct, and others will also follow suit, they say. Moreover, Jallikattu and bullock cart racing maintain a healthy male-to-female ratio of native cattle. The case now rests.

Date:8th February 2017


Supreme Court to hear plea of Animal Welfare Board on new jallikattu law today

Animal Welfare Board along with other animal activist had move to Supreme Court against the new law passed by Tamil Nadu for resumption of jallikattu. The plea filed by the organisation challenges the law passed by Tamil Nadu government, the new law passed by the government violates the 2014 judgement of the court which has declared jallikattu as inherent cruelty towards the bull.The amendment was brought in to defuse the raging protest at Marina Beach for its revival.

On May 7, 2014, the Supreme Court of India banned the traditional bull-taming sport conducted in Tamil Nadu Jallikattu after a 10-year-long battle by animal activists and animal welfare organisations like Federation of India Animal Protection Agencies (FIAPO) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The Supreme Court ruled that flouting of the ban will attract penalties and upheld the ban on January 14, 2016 when the Government of India passed an order reversing the ban imposed.

Date: 1st February 2017