|People for Animals also known as PFA is claimed to be India's largest animal welfare organization with a nation wide network of 26 hospitals, 165 units and 2.5 Lakh members.
The organization works to rescue and rehabilitate sick and needy animals. PFA has set up and runs shelters, ambulance services, sterilisation programmes, treatment camps and disaster rescue missions, for animals. They conduct education programmes in schools, fight cases in court and lobby on animal issues in parliament. At present, they have a nationwide network of 165units, 26 hospitals and 60 mobile units. PFA aims to have an animal welfare center in each of the nation's 600 districts.
Animal welfare is not just about animals. It is about us-our living conditions, our children, and our earth. Cruelty to animals has a significant and irreversible impact on human health, economy and environment.’
A judicial decision that had far reaching effects: In the year 2000, the High Court in Kerala issued a landmark judgment related to “Rights” in relation to circus animals, ruling that they are “beings entitled to dignified existence” under Article-21 of the Indian Constitution. The ruling said that if human beings are entitled to these rights, animals should be too. The Court went beyond the requirements of the Constitution that all living beings should be shown compassion, and said: “It is not only our fundamental duty to show compassion to our animal friends, but also to recognise and protect their rights. Other courts in India and one court in Sri Lanka followed the same practice.
In 2012, Indian government’s extensive ban on vivisection: The word vivisection is derived from the Latin word vivus meaning ‘alive’ and ‘section’ meaning cutting. It is a surgery conducted for experimental purposes on living organisms, including animals to view living internal structures. Animal welfare movements argued that animals and humans both have the same natural rights as living creature and that it is inherently immoral to inflict pain or injury on another living creature, regardless of the purpose or potential benefit to humanity.
Children and adults all over the world enjoy circuses and especially the animal tricks. But,reading this autobiography of the King of the Jungle your perceptions towards animal abusein circuses for entertainment would change forever.
I was born to be free, roam the jungles and live in my natural habitat. I had a place of pride in my kingdom because I was at the head of the food chain. I was respected, was proud and blessed to be free. But, things changed when one day mercilessly I was separated from my mother, dragged, captivated and chained in a circus. My heart wept a silent tear as you all clapped seeing myantics and also those of my friends. I have so much to tell you and share with you my deepest feelings, with the fond hope that one day you will understand our plight and set us free.
Our homes are not the green forests but tiny cramped cages barely larger than our own bodies where we are chained and tethered. We move from town to town loaded on to lorries and there is never a break from the endless travel. Many of the cages are rusty and live in the filth of our own waste. There is no space to move around and we have bare access to food and water.
My friend, the elephant is forced to spend the day shackled by three feet, the tiny birds often have their wings clipped which prevent them from flying, dogs are locked in cages. I can’t exercise, play, roam or socialize. This stressful and unnatural environment causes physical and psychological trauma. I am naturally a semi nocturnal big cat and love the water but here in the circus I perform in the day time and denied any kind of watering hole. Basically we are solitary animals, but our circus handlers ignore this fact and make us live in incompatible groups resulting in fights and injuries. And then I wonder – am I really the King of the Jungle or am I just a mere entertainer?
Do you think my big friend; the elephant likes to stand on all fours on a small football or the apes riding motorcycle. We do not choose to do our tricks; we are forced to perform through the use of fear, pain and hunger. In our natural surroundings we would never do such uncomfortable, repetitious painful acts. If you knew the cruel methods that we are subjected to, I am sure the animal antics in the circuses will quickly lose their appeal. Whips, muzzles, collars ,bull hooks, electric roads and other tools are used during circus acts to remind us to performing front of the audience. These ‘performances’ are because we are beaten, shocked and whipped into submission. Today, I am old, weak, tired and injured. I don’t know what my fate is, will I die natural death or will I be killed when I will be of no use to my handlers. But, the King must look after his bretheren, I must speak for my other friends who suffer in silence as I did.
‘The King’ humbly appeals to all of you to become aware of the cruelty involved in forcing animals to perform for entertainment. Take your family to see only animal free circuses, never forget that every circus ticket you buy funds cruelty to animals. Call your local radio or television stations and ask them to air messages about circus cruelty. Also, you can even write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper highlighting our plight. Organize a demonstration or a street play or distribute leaflets guiding people on what actions they can take when a circus comes to their town using these animals. I don’t belong here. Let my spirit of freedom rekindle in all your hearts because – Circuses are no fun for animals.