The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has observed that a film set is a frightening and distressing environment for animals and urged movie and television show producers to replace them with modern technology. The AWBI is the prescribed authority under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, which authorises the use of animals in films. PETA India said that it was after their appeal regarding cruelty to animals in films and TV shows that the Board issued the advisory.
On the same, PETA India on Thursday appreciating the AWBI’s move, said that AWBI has taken the right step for modern times to encourage the use of existing technology in the production of films and TV shows.
The animal rights body, in a note issued to the Film Producers Association of India, OTT Platform Associations and Film Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday observed that stressed animals are often taken to distant locations, where they are kept in chaotic conditions of a film set, and that trainers routinely use methods that involve coercion or punishment.
”A film set is a frightening and distressing environment for animals. This increases the chance of animals getting startled and hurting themselves and others, causing all involved unnecessary pain and suffering. When not working, these animals spend most of their lives chained or in cramped, filthy, barren cages, deprived of everything natural and important to them,” the AWBI observed.
”It is advisable that effective methods such as computer graphics, visual effects, and animatronics should be prioritised instead of involving live animals in films/advertisement films in order prevent unnecessary pain and suffering to animals during exhibition and training,” it said.
On the heels of a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India based on a whistle-blower report that a horse was involved in a head-on collision and died during the shooting of the film Ponniyin Selvan, the AWBI had called on the district collector of Hyderabad and the Telangana State Animal Welfare Board to conduct an enquiry into the incident, PETA India said in a statement.
AWBI had also suggested that officials must ensure that the culprits receive ”exemplary punishment” in order to deter such crimes in the future.
”There is a moral responsibility on the part of Indian production companies to use CGI, VFX, and other types of modern technology and follow the example of many renowned Indian and foreign filmmakers,” PETA India Chief Advocacy Officer Khushboo Gupta said in a note.