So many wonderful victories have happened this year for circus animals. First, Los Angeles announced its ban of bullhook usage on elephants, then the UK announced its amazing ban on ALL wild animals in circuses (to go into effect in 2015), and soon after the region of Catalonia, Spain declared that it would also look into banning the use of animals in circuses.

Now, India has stepped up to the plate and has banned the use of elephants in circuses!

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A nine-month investigation conducted by PETA India and Animal Rahat spurred the change of heart.

The collected footage and documentation was presented to the Animal Welfare Board of India, who voted to “stop registration of elephants for performances under the Performing Animals Rules” due to the cruelty and abuse they suffered, as reported by the Times of India.

The investigation examined 15 different circuses and documented rampant violations of India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960) and the Performing Animals Rules and the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) that ranged from animals dying due to poor or nonexistent care to the use of “nail-studded sticks and ankuses (metal hooks with sharp, spear-like ends)” for training the elephants, reports PETA.

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Bollywood stars helped to amplify the campaign to end this abuse including John Abraham, Shilpa Shetty, Vijender Singh and Wayne Parnel.

Abraham wrote a letter to the Indian government stating, “Unlike human performers, animals are forced to entertain through the use of fear, pain or hunger” – a statement that is all too true for circuses around the globe.

A complete ban on all animals in circuses is planned as the next course of action for PETA India and Animal Rahat. According to the Times of India, the groups’ findings will be sent to the Central Zoo Authority for further action.

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Let’s hope that a total ban of circus animals in Indian will soon be reached. In the mean time, bravo, India, and thank you!

Image source: Nazim Uddin / Flickr