For Immediate Release:
11 January 2016
PETA Encourages Using ‘Kind Kites’ to Spare Lives on Makar Sankranti
Vadodara – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India members – including one wearing a bird costume entangled in manja and others “injured”, “bloodied”, wrapped in bandages and hobbling on crutches – will gather in the city on Tuesday to call on Vadodara residents to celebrate Makar Sankranti manja-free. Manja is kite string made sharp by a coating of crushed glass, metal or other material. Instead, PETA India suggests using cotton string for “kind kites”. The demonstrators, bearing signs proclaiming, “Manja: Harmful to Birds and Humans”, will remind the public that thousands of birds and many humans – including young children – have been injured or killed by sharp manja.
When: Tuesday, 12 January, 12 noon sharp
Where: Bird Circle, opposite the Barista café, Race Course, Vadodara
“Most people care about wildlife and would choose manja-free kite strings if they knew that it would spare birds and humans the risk of serious injury and death”, says PETA India’s Neerja Khede. “PETA urges India’s government to ban the sale and use of all forms of sharp manja nationwide and encourages caring people to make the switch to ‘kind kites’ this Makar Sankranti – for everyone’s safety.”
Although the government of Gujarat issued a circular against manja in 2011, many human and bird casualties have been reported every year, indicating that the ban is being neither followed nor adequately enforced. Recently, on 7 January 2016, a 21-year-old man from Vadodara was critically injured when his throat was slit by manja. In January 2015, a 5-year-old boy in Vadodara died after his throat, too, was slit by manja while he was on his way to school with his father. In January 2014, Devesh Kulshreshtha from Surat was grievously injured by manja while riding his bike and required nearly 50 stitches on the face. These are just a few examples.
In addition to the loss of human lives, every year, countless birds – including migratory birds and endangered species such as the Indian vulture – get injured or die after coming into contact with sharp manja. Loose kites and strings become entangled in trees and cause problems for months afterwards. The legs or wings of birds who fly past get caught, leaving the animals to endure a slow, miserable death. A bird rescuer in Ahmedabad estimates that 2,000 birds are injured every year during the Uttarayan kite-flying festival in that city alone and that 500 of them die from their injuries.
For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.