Delhi HC concerned over animal body’s lack of attention to captive animals

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The Delhi High Court on Monday expressed unhappiness over the lack of attention of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) in a matter related to the captive animals kept in zoos, saying it will not hesitate to initiate contempt proceedings in this regard.

A division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh was hearing two petitions filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and the Federation for Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO).

While expressing concern over the captive animals, the court observed that the lack of care and attention to the captive animals can prove fatal for them.

PETA had sought an immediate ban on the use of animals in circuses by the Centre, notifying The Performing Animals (Registration) (Amendment) Rules, 2018.

Petitioner’s counsel Priya Hingorani submitted that the use of weapons and other forms of abuse of animals is inherent, rampant, and widespread in circuses, which commonly violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009, among others.

It was submitted that the reply on the application filed by the PETA-India is awaited since January 2021 and the respondents have failed to file any reply till now.

FIAPO sought to rescue animals in circuses due to the Covid-19 pandemic and challenging Sections 21 to 27 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to the extent that they permit exhibition and training of animals in or for or in relation to circus acts.

The challenge to these sections will ensure a ban on the use of animals in circuses.

The pleas also sought to know the condition of the animals in circuses and zoos which have been closed down during the pandemic.

The bench also asked the Secretary, AWBI to be personally present before the court in the next hearing and asked for a status report on the matter.The court will hear the matter further on February 9, 2022.

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