Peta serves legal notice to O&M, Hutch for parakeet ad

MUMBAI: Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) which is the creative agency for Hutch has been served a legal notice from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) India’s advocate Raj Panjwani. The notice has also been sent to Hutchison Telecom asking them to withdraw their recent ad campaign featuring cricketer Rahul Dravid and a parakeet. This notice follows the failure of O&M and Hutch to respond to Peta's letter asking them to stop airing this ad.



The ad is in direct contravention of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 (WPA) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA) 1960. As per the Registration of Performing Animals Rules 2001, section 23 of chapter V of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, any person who wants to use an animal in a film or an ad has to receive prior permission from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

In this case, O&M has not received the required permissions. The animals have to be hired from animal suppliers who are registered with the AWBI, and not a single animal supplier in Mumbai is legitimately registered.



The parakeet shown in the recent Hutch ad is a protected bird, and cannot be used for any ads or films under any circumstances. Possession of protected animals (who are listed in the different schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972) without an appropriate ownership certificate from the requisite chief wildlife warden of that state is a criminal act, as is the trade and trafficking of all wild birds.

The ad also supports a cruel industry: the illegal trade and trafficking in captive birds. "Please realise that even the parakeet shown in your ad met with the same cruelty as all captive birds: painful clipping of his wing feathers and a life of captivity in a tiny cage in which he can barely turn around," writes Peta India chief functionary Anuradha Sawhney in her letter to the company.

Last year, Peta wrote a letter appealing to all ad agencies across India to adhere to animal-protection laws when shooting with animals and to consider the treatment of animals on the sets.

"O&M is well aware of the laws governing the use of animals in films. We have written to them in the past regarding a donkey they used in a Sprite ad, again without permission. We want everyone to know that wherever you go with animals, Peta will follow you," adds Sawhney.

Attempts to contact O&M India group president and national creative director Piyush Pandey or Hutchison officials by proved futile.

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