Written by PETA
You've seen us win campaigns, admired our stunning celebrity
ads, taken notice of our eye-catching demonstrations on the streets, watched
our hard-hitting undercover investigations, listened to our campaigners talk
about animal rights issues on TV and taken action with us online, but have you ever
met the person behind all this work? Today, 8 March, is International Women's
Day, so we thought it was the perfect occasion to introduce the woman behind
our success: Meet Poorva Joshipura!
Born in the US, Poorva has proved her commitment
towards helping animals by working for various PETA affiliates globally before
becoming our dynamic Chief Executive Officer. Poorva is also the Vice President of
International Affairs for PETA UK, which makes her the youngest vice president of
any PETA affiliates.
Poorva's known for her bold campaigning style. She has
personally conducted numerous undercover investigations of slaughterhouses and
other facilities in which animals are abused in India, has confined herself to
a cage in Nairobi to demonstrate the plight of chickens killed for their flesh
and successfully stopped a US-based animal supplier to laboratories from
expanding its business to Europe, among other achievements. She was even jailed
for disrupting a Michael Kors fashion show during New York Fashion Week to
protest against his use of fur.
Read on to learn what Poorva's got to say:
How did you
end up working for PETA?
For as long as I can remember, I've enjoyed learning
about animals. I remember watching wildlife documentaries with my father when I
was as young as 3, and I have fond memories of my grandmother as she set out
water for birds and squirrels. But when I was young, I ate meat, I wore
leather, I used products tested on animals and I went to the zoo and the
circus. Although I respected animals, because the use of animals is so
entrenched in our society, I did not realise that my daily actions caused a
lifetime of suffering and cruelty to animals. That is, until I met a girl in
school named Natalie. We became good friends, and she introduced me to
literature from PETA US. I vowed never to knowingly harm animals again after
reading their Animal Times magazine and
decided to go vegan. Natalie now works for PETA Foundation US, while I am the Chief
Executive Officer of PETA India.
the challenges that you have faced with being associated with PETA India?
We don't have the big budget of large corporations to
help us reach out to people, and the nature of our work is to expose cruelty so
hideous that sometimes television networks refuse to air it. As a result, we
need to be cutting edge. We rely on our own boldness and creativity to get animal
issues noticed. We are not afraid of doing something unusual and often act as
billboards ourselves through eye-catching street theatre–style demonstrations.
We put animals first and leave personal hang-ups against doing something
it that fires you up about animal rights?
We know a lot more today than we did in the past about
animals. We know that they are thinking, feeling, emotional, sensitive beings –
just as we are. This makes what we do as a society to animals for a fleeting
moment of taste or for a belt or a shoe even more unacceptable.
Chickens, for example, are inquisitive and interesting
animals whose cognitive abilities, scientists now tell us, are in some cases
more advanced than those of cats, dogs and even some primates.
Fish and Fisheries cited
more than 500 research papers on fish intelligence, proving that fish, too, are
smart, that they can use tools and that they have impressive long-term memories
and sophisticated social structures.
Cows are very intelligent animals who can remember
things for a long time. Animal behaviourists have found that cows interact in
socially complex ways, developing friendships over time and sometimes holding
grudges against other cows (and people) who treat them badly.
What can people
do to help animals?
Log on to PETAIndia.com to take part in action alerts.
Volunteer at an animal shelter to take dogs for walks and to help them with
adopt-a-thons. Set up an information stall at your college fests (PETA can
provide you with materials). Arrange a screening of PETA's investigative
videos. You can order a free copy of "Glass Walls", our video exposé
of the cruelty of the meat and dairy industries, to show your family and
friends. Share PETA's investigative videos online. Encourage people to become a
member of PETA India. And most importantly, speak up whenever you see cruelty.
keeps you going when you're not at work? What do you like doing in your free
I love hanging out with my rescued dog, Mr Mehboob. He
was found near Mehboob Studios during a shoot with Celina Jaitly against
cruelty to animals in laboratories, thus the name. We go for long walks along
the Bandra seafront in Mumbai over the weekends. I love hanging out with family
and friends, exploring and learning – by travelling, reading, watching films,
trying new cuisines. I'm always up for a new adventure. My favourite, however,
is to travel and meet people from different cultures. It's always good to have
an opportunity to see life from a different perspective.
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