PETA Says Jewellery Designer’s Plan to Encase Live Fish in Necklace is Cruel and Unimaginative

For Immediate Release
10 August 2010

Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has fired off letters to the police, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the Chairman of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India, Mr. Vasant Mehta, over a Mumbai-based jewellery designer’s plan to use fish as living decorations.

PETA points out that Lakshya Pahuja must be short of new ideas and a heart for again deciding to entomb living fish inside a necklace and show the jewellery as his “creation” at India International Jewellery Show (from 15th to 19th August, 2010). Confining fish to an item so small that they are not allowed any movement and subjecting them to traumatic handling would likely cause the fish injury and extreme distress and could even result in death. This is the second time that PETA has taken on Pahuja. In 2007, the designer got flak from PETA for the same necklace design, which traps a betta fish in an acrylic block. PETA cites a review of more than 500 studies showing that fish are intelligent, sensitive animals who feel pain and fear just as all animals do.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, one of the world’s leading marine biologists, said, “I wouldn’t deliberately eat a grouper any more than I’d eat a cocker spaniel. They’re so good-natured, so curious. You know, fish really are sensitive, they have personalities, they hurt when they’re wounded”.

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PETA’s letter to the AWBI follows.


10 August 2010

Dr. R.M. Kharb
Maj. Gen. (Retd.), AVSM
Chairman, AWBI

Dear Dr. Kharb,

As you know from our letter to Mr Lakshya Pahuja, a Mumbai based designer, there is a matter of grave concern affecting the life of a fish who will be trapped in a necklace for showcasing at the upcoming India International Jewelry Show (from the15th to the 19th of August, 2010). Our office has been inundated with calls from people across the country who are outraged to hear about this cruel display.

As you probably know, fish are sensitive, intelligent animals capable of feeling pain and suffering. Scientists who study pain explain that the pain response fish experience is basically identical to the pain response system in mammals and birds. Fish also lead complex intellectual lives that rival those of dogs and some other mammals. An issue of the journal Fish and Fisheries, devoted to learning, cited more than 500 research papers on fish intelligence, proving that fish are smart, that some can use tools, and that they have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures. Being handled and then trapped in a necklace – in which the fish would bang against the sides as the person wearing the necklace moves – and being confined to a frustrating and confusing environment where oxygen would be compromised, is certain to cause unimaginable distress, suffering and likely death to the fish.

We beseech the AWBI to immediately send a notice to Lakshya Pahuja since this is an act of deliberate cruelty in contravention of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, demanding that he not use a fish in this way.

Mr. Pahuja can be reached on [email protected], or via his manager Mr. Raj Das on [email protected]

May we please receive a copy of AWBI’s communication to Mr. Pahuja?

Thank you for your time and attention to this issue.


Sachin Bangera
Senior Coordinator
Media & Communications