The use of exotic animals in performance magic is a difficult topic. While it’s true that, in most civilised countries, there are laws to protect the welfare of performing animals, and that the rise of social media has made animal abuse akin to career suicide, there is still something decidedly off about locking up non-domesticated animals and using them for entertainment. And yes, that goes for zoos too, before you start.
Indian Magician, Jadugar Anand, has come under fire for one of his acts that involves a captive elephant. “People for Animal,” an an animal rights organization, has petitioned the Indore circuit bench of Madhya Pradesh high court to confiscate the animal, alleging that Anand’s use of it violates the Wildlife Protection Act.
The group initially complained to local officials of the state forest department, asking them to seize the animal and release it into the wild, but Anand provided documents showing he obtained permission to use the elephant in his performances. Having acquired photographic evidence of what appears to be an open wound on the elephant following a performance, the group went to the high court, alleging abuse.
A spokesperson for the organization claimed the case was set to be heard on May 24th, but there’s been no news of a verdict as of yet.