For Immediate Release:
7 January 2011
Mumbai – As Makar Sankranti approaches, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is urging people to forgo glass-coated manja in favour of what kite fliers have used throughout the ages: standard cotton string.
PETA warns that the manja used in kite-flying competitions is often coated with powdered and finely crushed glass. While effective at cutting an opponent’s kite line (which could be considered foul play), glass-coated manja is also deadly for thousands of pigeons, crows, owls, kites and other birds who get slashed, wounded and killed when they become entangled in the strings. Glass-coated manja, which can remain entangled in trees and poles for weeks following a contest, has also caused human injuries and deaths. Last year, a man lost control of his bike after he was struck in the face by glass-coated kite string, and a woman’s throat was slashed by manja in Gujarat. Both died from their injuries.
“There is a long string of cruelty tied to the use of deadly glass-coated manja”, says PETA India’s Sachin Bangera. “Let’s all work together to prevent a fun, family activity from becoming a lethal threat – not only to birds whose wings and throats get cut but also to humans.”
PETA offers the following simple guidelines to make this year’s festival safe for birds and humans:
• Don’t use glass-coated string when flying kites. Ask your family and friends to do the same.
• Fly kites in an open area to prevent strings from becoming entangled in wires or trees, where birds can later become ensnared.
• If you spot a bird tangled in manja, call your local fire brigade and animal protection group for help.
• Join a local veterinary clinic or animal protection group and actively look for birds who need help.
• If you see someone selling glass-coated manja, alert them to the dangers and urge them to stop selling it.
• Contact your state government and ask officials to ban glass-coated manja.
For more information, visit PETAIndia.com.