From the Viewsroom

Lift lockdown for captive animals

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on May 10, 2020 Published on May 11, 2020

Starving animals in shops, zoos and circuses should be set free

It was a sensitive message from an actor that put the spotlight on the plight of animals still locked in cages in shops that sell animals as pets. In the lockdown period, shop owners had left without caring for the animals inside. Local good samaritans and animal welfare groups had to rescue them. The worry is that more shops with captive starving animals may be shut to this day, unknown to authorities or welfare organisations.

The Covid-linked lockdown has revealed why the use and sale of animals as pets and circus animals, for example, needs to be stopped. The very source of the coronavirus is being linked to China’s wet markets where wild animals are sold for meat — a practice criticised globally, forcing China to take some measures to curb it. Another Covid revelation is the abandoning of pets by uncaring owners, apparently for fear of getting infected by them. This, despite the World Health Organization clarifying, repeatedly, that there was no truth in this view. If anything, humans transmit Covid to their pets. The distressing reality of locked-up animals and abandoned pets led People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to write to the Director Generals of Police across the country to book people abandoning their pets and take action against shops leaving captive animals to starve.

Animals in circuses also suffer, says animal rights organisation FIAPO, citing reports of owners choosing between the welfare of its staff versus animals. The organisation called for the animals to be released to caring shelters. For all the videos of animals reclaiming their space during the lockdown, its also true is that a German zoo reportedly had a “slaughter list” of animals to be fed to others because of the financial crisis. As the lockdown lifts for humans, so should it for animals captive in shops, circuses or zoos. Let them run free in their habitats.

Published on May 11, 2020

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