Despite malicious fake news you may have read on social media, PETA India’s only position on religious festivals – as with any event, religious or not – is to appeal for everyone to celebrate (or worship) without harming animals. This is a view all compassionate people support. After all, cruelty to animals is indefensible. While most but not all PETA India staff members are Hindus, the group takes no other position whatsoever on religious festivals, because our sole mission is to prevent cruelty to animals across the board. We welcome members, supporters, volunteers, and staff of all religions or none and wish everyone joy and satisfaction in the pursuit of their faith.
Just as for-profit companies use celebratory occasions to advertise products, we use them to advertise kindness, which is what every religion promotes. Love, for example, should extend beyond a human partner or parent – a good message for Valentine’s Day. Fruits and alms can be given at Eid, thereby sparing the lives of goats. Naga Panchami is an opportunity to show respect for snakes, rather than harming them. Earth Day is a perfect occasion to pledge to go vegan for animals and the environment. Christmas is a wonderful occasion to give away cruelty-free gifts – and so on.
However, with social media at their disposal, animal abusers and haters resort to the oldest trick in the book: they try to shoot the messenger to detract from important issues. They work hard to fool people by twisting facts, deliberately misrepresenting the message, and sending out blatant lies, knowing they will spread and that people will wonder if they are true or actually accept them as facts. Don’t fall for it.
PETA India works to stop cruelty to animals. These highlights from the last 20 years of our work will give you an idea of what kinds of life-saving projects we take on, as will this video.
They range from investigating the treatment of animals for meat and ending cruel animal experiments to teaching kids the importance of being kind and rescuing animals from circuses. Our main focus is on issues that involve the greatest number of animals suffering on an industrial scale – that is, for experiments, food, fashion, and entertainment – but we also run other projects, including with respect to cruelty in the pet trade and alleviating the suffering of animals used for work. We run a 24/7 emergency response line (9820122602) and tackle individual cases of cruelty, because that’s our mandate as an animal rights group – to try to protect animals from harm, wherever it occurs.
PETA India’s motto is that “animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”. Therefore, we will speak up against the keeping of elephants in chains, as their physical and mental well-being – like yours – depends on being able to move around, live with their families, and have control over their own lives. We will speak up against animal sacrifice, because it is unnecessary to slit an animal’s throat – sacrifice and doing good for the community can be expressed in many other ways. We will speak up against the tormenting of bulls in blood sports and other events, because these sensitive animals should not be prodded, whipped, or deliberately terrified, and their tailbones should not be snapped. We will encourage vegan and cruelty-free holidays and events, because we don’t need to harm a hair on an animal’s head in order to have a good time. And we will share helpful messaging – such as to use plain kite string and to have quiet fireworks during weddings and other events – to reduce the number of calls to our emergency response line about birds who have been lacerated by sharp thread and terrified dogs who have run away from home because of loud noises.
The good news is that all events, whether religious or not, can be celebrated with kindness to animals in mind, because being kind takes nothing away from a celebration but can mean the difference between life or death for animals.