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After appeals from PETA India, BookMyShow stops selling circus tickets

Updated on: 30 August,2022 08:14 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shirish Vaktania |

Move by popular ticketing platform comes after high-profile campaign by PETA, backed by celebs like John Abraham and boxer Vijender Singh

After appeals from PETA India, BookMyShow stops selling circus tickets

A billboard featuring Vijender Singh outside BookMyShow’s Andheri office

Heeding appeals from PETA India, BookMyShow has dropped from its ticketing platform circuses that use animals for entertainment. The decision by the movie- and event-ticketing company comes days after the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals put up a billboard outside BookMyShow’s Andheri office highlighting animal cruelty at circuses and also met the company officials. For now, the portal has stopped selling tickets for Asiad and Great Gemini circuses.

Five months ago, PETA India had also roped in Bollywood actor John Abraham to urge BookMyShow to discontinue tickets for circuses that use animals. On its billboard, PETA India featured boxer Vijender Singh with the message: “Knock Out Cruelty: Boycott Circuses”. 

Sources said the ticketing company has expressly assured PETA India that it would form an official policy regarding circuses 
using animals. 

A circus bear in action. Representation pic; (right) Actor and animal lover John Abraham wrote to BookMyShow on behalf of PETA IndiaA circus bear in action. Representation pic; (right) Actor and animal lover John Abraham wrote to BookMyShow on behalf of PETA India

Hiraj Laljani, PETA India’s associate manager of media and celebrity projects, said, “Few months back we approached Bollywood star John Abraham who is also an animal lover and requested him to write a letter on behalf of PETA India to BookMyShow to stop selling animal circus tickets from their portal.”

In the letter to BookMyShow, John Abraham cited a circus in Pune that was apparently using animals not registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). It pointed to the act that involved swallowing and regurgitating fish. 

“I hope that you will not side with cruelty and that BookMyShow will do the right thing by implementing a policy not to promote, sell a permit the sale of tickets of circuses that use animals,” it said. 

Acting on the letter and PETA India’s billboard outside its office, BookMyShow on Saturday dropped two circuses from its portal. 
PETA India’s director Poorva Joshipura told mid-day, “Circuses worldwide are moving towards using only consenting human performers who are free to come and go, get paid, and can retire—unlike animals who are caged, chained, and forced to do tricks for their entire lives under the threat of punishment.”

Commending BookMyShow for dropping the two circuses from its portal, Joshipura said, the e-ticketing platform has sold tickets for Rambo Circus whose owner was recently arrested for various violations of animal protection laws and let out on bail. “The Animal Welfare Board of India recently sought action against Ajanta Circus for using animals without the required certification.” 

The PETA India official added, “Circuses are so notorious for their cruelty to animals and disregard of animal protection laws that in 2017, 2019, and 2020, the AWBI advised the central government to pass legislation to stop the use of animals in 
circuses. Last year, the Central Zoo Authority cancelled its recognition of the Great Golden Circus, the only circus that was still using elephants for performances.”

Officials from the animal rights organisation said they recently collected appeals from 100 veterinarians from different states and got a petition signed by 1,00,000 students from across the country urging the minister of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairy to bring in laws to prohibit the use of animals in circuses.

No. of circuses the portal removed on Saturday

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