New Delhi: Circus animals are starving amidst Covid-19 papdemic. Some of them are also missing.

This is what the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Federation of Indian Animals Protection Organisation (FIAPO) are complaining.

They point out that while the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) lists 740 circus animals, a physical survey has found their number to be only 28.

PETA and FIAPO have termed “serious” and “shocking” that there was a huge gap in the number of animals found by the AWBI, as against those registered with it, when it inspected circuses across the country.

The two organisations had moved the Delhi high court last year for the protection of animals in circuses stranded across the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

PETA India claimed in its plea that due to the Covid 19 outbreak and the resultant lockdown, circuses are finding it difficult to feed the animals which left many of them vulnerable to starvation. It sought a direction to the Centre to immediately notify the Performing Animals (Registration) Amendment Rules of 2018 which expressly prohibits the training and exhibition of performing animals in circuses and “mobile entertainment facilities”.

The Delhi high court last week has asked the AWBI to file an affidavit on the status of animals of circuses that have closed down. A bench comprising of justice Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, which was hearing the petition of PETA has given three weeks time to the AWBI to file the affidavit disclosing status of the said animals.

The matter would be heard next on November 11, next.