PETA India Apologises for Misunderstanding: New Anti-Leather Billboard Campaign to Rise

For Immediate Release:

21 July 2020

Contact:

Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

Radhika Suryavanshi; [email protected] 

PETA India Continues Efforts to Protect Cows From Cruel Trade

Kanpur– People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India’s successful campaign to save cows from being turned into leather jackets, purses, belts and shoes, that began with a Raksha Bandhan-themed billboard is now underway. PETA India is in the process of erecting new billboards in Kanpur, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Patna, and Pune: this one with the same beautiful cow and a buffalo, but reading, “I’m Someone, Not Something. Always Go Leather-Free.” The new ad is the latest in a series of “I’m Me”–type ads by PETA India, featuring different animals and encouraging vegan living.

While PETA India’s first billboard generated tremendous interest in vegan clothing,  and brought significant praise, it was also the subject of a misunderstanding from people genuinely confused by the message, thinking PETA India opposed rakhis as being made of leather, although the group never alleged this and the message was not about rakhis at all; and a downright hateful attempt to stir up trouble by those opposed to PETA India’s work to end jallikatu and the lifetime chaining of elephants in temples.

The first ad attempted to embrace the spirit of protection of a precious holiday by encouraging celebrants to include our fellows from the animal kingdom, cows, in addition to commitments to protect human sisters, and was the idea of a deeply devoted Hindu who has foresworn leather. The new billboard leaves the holiday out and reminds the public of how important it is to find ways to protect animals from the cruel leather trade every day.

In Kanpur, the new billboard will be located at 111A/18, GT Road, Near Sindh Travels, Ashok Nagar, Harsh Nagar. The ad can be viewed and downloaded here. Video footage of cows and other animals killed for leather is available for download upon request.

PETA India’s original ad resulted in a 530% rise in views of our video expose of leather cruelty than normal; a 1000% rise in views of our meat, egg and dairy industry expose; and a barrage of requests on information for leather-free shopping, but meat-eaters are among those who began creating deliberate confusion on social media, even maliciously attempting to communalise the campaign.

Not wanting to distract from the plight of cows, buffaloes, and other animals used for leather in India who desperately need help, and who are often crammed onto vehicles so tightly that their bones break, PETA India will now be placing new ads to continue its efforts to promote vegan fashion. On its website PETAIndia.com, PETA India points out that the throats of animals who survive cruel transport are cut in full view of others at the slaughterhouse, and for many, dismembering and skinning begins while they’re still conscious. Leather is also detrimental to human health and the environment: run-off from leather tanneries poisons rivers and streams, harming all life within, and has been linked to cancer, respiratory infections, and other conditions in humans.

“Cows, buffaloes and other animals used for leather are like us; made of flesh and blood; feel pain and fear; desire freedom; love their children; and value their lives,” says PETA India Campaigns Coordinator Radhika Suryavanshi. “Cows are mothers, yes, and fellow beings too, and they deserve our protection today and every day. They’re not shoes, purses, wallets, bags, or belts – they’re living beings, just like me and you. PETA India wants every member of every community to live vegan, and at different times we put out campaigns that we believe will appeal to different people. The sad truth is, most people still do not think about who they are wearing when they shop.”

PETA India notes that synthetic leather and other animal-friendly options are available at nearly every major shoe and clothing shop in the country, and offers a PETA Approved Vegan logo scheme for companies to help with ethical shopping.

This month, PETA India also placed billboards in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai featuring a goat proclaiming, “I’m ME, Not Mutton. See the Individual. Go Vegan.” The billboard had also gone up in Lucknow, but was removed without PETA India’s consent.

In relation to that ad, PETA India spokesperson Amir Nabi said, “I am vegan because all living beings feel pain and fear, have unique personalities, and value their own lives, just as I do. I discovered I can celebrate Eid al-Adha by distributing fruits to those in need. I also respect the spirit of sacrifice every day by dedicating my life to working for a charity, and it brings me joy.”

The group – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.

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