For Immediate Release:
22 June 2021
Dr Kiran Ahuja; [email protected]
Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]
Amul Previously Used Joaquin Phoenix’s Likeness in an Ad, Immediately Following Actor’s Oscar Speech Denouncing Dairy Industry’s Cruelty to Cows
Mumbai – On Monday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India sent a letter to Amul telling it to pull its advertisement appropriating Novak Djokovic’s recent 19th Grand Slam title win in the French Open tennis championship. PETA India points out that the advertisement is deceptive, because Djokovic is vegan (plant-based) and therefore does not consume dairy. Last year, the group slammed Amul for featuring Joaquin Phoenix’s likeness in an ad right after he accepted the Oscar for Best Actor for Joker and gave a moving speech highlighting the importance of animal rights and specifically denouncing dairy-industry cruelty to cows and calves.
PETA India’s letter to Amul about Novak Djokovic and video footage of cruelty on Indian dairy farms are available upon request.
“Djokovic is a vegan who won his 19th Grand Slam, and now, PETA India slams Amul for appropriating his image in an ad for the very product he denounces,” says PETA India CEO and expert cattle veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate. “Last year, we had to inform Amul that Hollywood actor and star of Joker Joaquin Phoenix is vegan after the company used his likeness. That time, the joke was on Amul, as Joaquin had used his Oscar speech to condemn the common dairy industry practice of artificially inseminating a cow and stealing her baby.”
In the letter sent today, Dr Valliyate writes, “Today, many athletes and celebrities around the world, including tennis champion Venus Williams, Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton, American football player Colin Kaepernick, and Olympic gold medallist and football player Alex Morgan, are eating vegan for improved health, concern for animals, or to help the environment. Indian footballer Sunil Chhetri has also been reported to eat vegan for improved recovery, digestion, and fitness. In fact, a documentary has been made on vegan athletes, called The Game Changers, which is available on Netflix. Even when athletes, stars, and consumers are not fully vegan, they are still increasingly opting for vegan foods.”
The letter also points out that a Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine study published in the journal Nutrients found that vegan athletes benefit from improvements in heart health, performance, and recovery. Other people are vegan for the environment. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) revealed that meat, egg, and dairy production is responsible for about 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which, by some estimates, is greater than all the world’s transportation systems combined. Many people turn to vegan foods because they object to the common abandonment or killing of male calves and the supply of cattle to the beef and leather industries by the dairy sector.
India’s Epigamia dairy brand already sells almond milk as well as coconut yogurt, dairy company Hangyo has launched two vegan ice cream flavours made of coconut milk, and Mumbai’s The Brooklyn Creamery sells a variety of vegan ice creams in addition to those made of animals’ milk. Meanwhile, Indian meat company Allana Group is involved in bringing Beyond Meat (maker of vegan burgers and other plant-based meat products) to India. And Baskin Robbins offers three vegan flavours in India.
Dr Valliyate concludes by reiterating PETA India’s request: “Amul already produces foods that do not contain dairy, like peanut spread and a dark chocolate. Won’t you now discontinue the misleading ad featuring Novak Djokovic and consider making your company also known for delicious, healthful vegan milk?”
PETA India has sought a meeting with Amul but has received no response. The group – whose motto reads, in part, that “animal are not ours to eat” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.