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Delhi HC orders Animal Welfare Board to do physical survey of health of animals in circuses

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today slammed the Animal Welfare Board of India for not performing a systematic survey of the animal circuses and directed them again to conduct a physical survey themselves or send the State Animal Husbandry Boards at the registered circuses.

A divisional bench of Justices Vipin Saghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar, while hearing the matter through video conferencing, noted that as per the affidavit only seven out of 19 circuses registered had stated that their animals are kept in good condition and are not inclined towards surrendering their animals. 

The petition has been filed by the Federation for Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) seeking directions to rescue the animals in circuses amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and further challenging section 21- 27 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, alleging that they permit exhibition and training of animals with regards to circuses, seeking a ban on the use of animals in circuses.

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The bench stated: “In our last order, we required the board to conduct a survey and not merely undertake correspondence. Unless and until the survey is conducted and a report submitted by the surveyor with regard to the actual condition found on site, along with photographs/ video-recordings of the animals and the surroundings in which they are kept, no useful purpose would be served.”

The bench has sought a status report in the matter and has listed the matter for August 29.

– India Legal Bureau

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