A total of 34 animal have been seized by authorities from the Moonlight Circus in the city of Nanded, India and three employees were arrested.
Last week the last four animals, elephants Peanut, Mac, Coco and Wally, were rescued and sent to a Wildlife SOS sanctuary in Pune before being taken to the Wildlife SOS Elephant Care Centre in Haryana to start their new lives free of fear and pain. Other animals rescued included camels, horses, dogs, goats and birds.
The operation was carried out by local police officers and local administration staff together with different animal welfare organizations, including PETA, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, PFA Hyderabad, PFA Pune, PFA Uttarakhand, PFA Wardha, the Resquink Association for Wildlife Welfare, the Thane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Wildlife SOS.
It all started with PETA Asia’s investigation on 16 circuses in the country between 2012 and 2013 which led to the Moonlight Circus, among others, to lose their performing animal registration certificate with the Animal Welfare Board of India and their recognition as a captive animal facility by the Central Zoo Authority.
“The elephants could hardly move because each of their legs were stretched out and tied with nylon ropes. We could see open wounds on them. We saw pointed metal sticks that are used to train animals by hurting them. These instruments are banned. They had no exercise. There was some dry grass lying next to them but hardly any water. They were also showing signs of stereotypic behaviour, like bobbing their heads and swaying, indicating the mental trauma that a captive animal suffers from,” said Prashant Achariya with the FIAPO on March.
“Most of the performing dogs they had were Pomeranians. One of them was heavily pregnant, yet she was kept in a small cage with the other dogs. One dog did not have an eye and they all drank from one dirty bowl. The birds had lost their primary feathers which help them fly. We noticed blood on the feathers. There was no shelter from the heat and just a few dried seeds were kept in their cages. The camel had sores because of sitting for hours together and had bitten itself. The horses had open wounds due to poking. Some were so weak they could not lift their legs,” Achariya continued.
Luckily all animals are now in good hands and can look forward to a new beginning.