New Delhi/Nanded (Maharashtra): Sixteen exotic birds, including African parrots and macaws, 13 dogs, five horses, four elephants and a camel were rescued from a circus in Nanded in a joint operation by many animal rights organisations after a report revealed its animals were being exploited and tortured.
Moonlight circus, which is registered in Lakhimpur in Assam, was derecognised by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) on October 14, 2014, after investigation by the animal rights groups revealed exploitation and torture of its animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said on Wednesday.
The animals and birds were rescued from the circus, currently camping in Nanded, and have been relocated after the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the CZA withdrew the circus' regulatory clearances.
PETA said it started rescuing animals from the circus from February 2015 after the order and permission from AWBI and state wildlife departments were given.
The AWBI had authorised PETA to conduct 16 inspections from November 2012 to July 2013.
The operation was carried out by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization (FIAPO), People For Animals (PFA) (from Hyderabad, Pune, Uttarakhand, Wardha), PETA, Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) in Thane, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Wildlife SOS.
The four elephants were shifted to Wildlife SOS Elephant Care Centre for rehabilitation and the camel, birds, horses and dogs have been housed at PFA Wardha.
The investigation found that the animals were subjected to torture, while some died due to inadequate care, constant chaining and caging and handling by drunk circus employees.
The Nanded district chief judicial magistrate's court has also dismissed the circus' plea to retain the custody of its animals.
PETA said the animals exhibited extreme psychological distress.
Shakuntala Majumdar of SPCA said: "This circus has been a repeat offender and had failed to improve conditions of its animals despite multiple opportunities by government authorities. As a result, its permits had been cancelled."