Non-human animals have been used for various purposes by humans and the entertainment industry is no exception. This includes circuses, zoos and pseudo sanctuaries, marine parks and aquariums, advertisements, television shows, movies, animal sports like bullfighting, rodeo, horse racing, cock-fighting, bull racing, used as joyrides and canvases for art, hunting, fishing, using animals in functions, etc. In many of these scenarios, different species are captured and taken away from their habitat, caged with poor welfare standards, and are forced to perform by ensuring that they obey commands using painful punishment as a deterrent for disobedience. Animals go through immense amount of emotional and physical pain to be tamed enough and are many times killed on the job.
Is there a need for this industry?
A wide variety of reasoning has been used to preserve each area of animal use in entertainment ranging from their importance in educating the masses and conservation to building human-animal bonds. Animals, on the other hand, are deprived of their ability to engage in their instinctual behaviours, exhibit abnormal as a result of this deprivation, and have shown to turn hostile in some many situations.
In the Indian Context
Animals and their symbolism are deep rooted in many cultures in India. While many of these have enabled wildlife conservation, others have been detrimental to the wellbeing of the animal while convincing people otherwise. Cock-fighting and bull racing have taken on various forms in different states of the country. The animals are starved, poked and prodded, and pitted against each other or made to race. The animals suffer terrible injuries and even end up killing each other or dying in the process. Horse-drawn carriages in cities for the entertainment of tourists have been a major concern as the horses are mostly starved and made to run or walk for hours without a break. Horses used at weddings have to endure long hours of standing and exposure to loud music and firecrackers which has known to cause them severe distress. Elephants and camels used at forts and other locations for joyrides have shown to suffer severe illnesses and made to work through it all. Aquariums and zoos that hold and display animals keep them enclosed in small spaces and devoid them of their basic needs.
Section 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, prohibits the exhibition or training of animals which has ensured most of the animal acts in circuses to be curbed. Cockfighting has been banned in India since the enactment of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, however there are prevalent issues around the enforcement of the ban. Ensuring that more of such pro-animal laws are in place could work towards reducing and hopefully eliminating the use of animals for entertainment. Education through interaction with animals in sanctuaries could be encouraged. Conservation though wildlife tourism could ensure that animals are restricted to their habitat with minimal contact with humans. Building awareness plays a huge role in changing the public perception of animals.
Which animals are mostly used for entertainment?
Animals like elephants, lions, tigers, monkeys, dogs, horses, camels, bulls, roosters are used for entertainment. Hunting and fishing are done at the expense of a lot of wild animals.
Are we keeping animals safe by keeping them in zoos?
Zoos do not provide natural habitats and even if there is some mimicry of the natural habitat created, space constraints prevent the animals from exhibiting their natural behaviours. This induces stress in the animals.
Can we release animals from zoos into the wild?
Animals raised in captivity are not adapted and have poor skills to survive in the wild.
Why should animal joyrides be avoided?
Camels and elephants are usually captured from the wild and forced into submission. They live in constant fear. There are rarely any welfare standards maintained. There have been accounts of elephants turning hostile. Keeping these issues in mind, joyrides are not only putting the animals through suffering, but chances of the animals acting out could also prove to be harmful to humans around or on them.
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