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Not good to use live animals to perform in films, says activist

IANS  |  Mumbai 

Given the scope of creativity that animation and special effects provide, animals must not be used for entertainment in films, says Lynn de Souza, who is closely involved with animal welfare.

"As far as possible, it is not good to use live animals to perform in films, especially now when so many graphic options are available, and prosthetic animals are so well produced. Some of the animation films are so life-like that you don't need to use live animals at all," Lynn told IANS on the occasion of International Day of Forests on Tuesday.

"In 'Jungle Book,' the animated animals were fantastic! Performing animals suffer during both the training and the shoot, and it's best not to encourage this," added the Founder of Social Access, a not-for-profit organisation.

Social Access, along with Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), on Tuesday launched a forests and wildlife conservation film "The Story of All of Us".

Anish Andheria, CEO, WCT, said: "Animals don't get the respect they deserve, especially in some films and TV shows, where people are seen handling snakes, birds, monkeys, bears and even tigers. More often than not, these animals are sedated before the shoot to avoid retaliation. There are stringent rules in India as far as using wild animals for display/shoots is concerned.

"Several filmmakers circumvent this restriction by shooting outside the country. The Censor committee or an equivalent body should take a strong stance against such practices."

Calling it a "barbaric activity", Andheria further said "India must not wait for the world to take a stance" when it comes to using wild animals in shoots "even if their use is extremely beneficial for their ratings".

Their short film "The Story of All of Us" is voiced by actress and former beauty queen Sushmita Sen.

Commenting on how celebrities can help in spreading awareness about causes, Lynn, a former Chairman and CEO of Lintas Media Group, said: "Many Bollywood celebrities associate themselves with causes, either because they have a personal connect to the same, for example Amitabh Bachchan who suffered from tuberculosis, or Sanjay Dutt who lost his mother and wife to cancer, or because they feel that supporting a cause will help amplify their own personal brand.

"Aamir Khan is probably the best example of pushing social agendas through his TV shows, and his foundations. In some cases, supporting causes is used to present a good image in an otherwise controversial character, for example Salman Khan's ''Being Human."

How did the association with Sushmita come along?

"The idea of our film was based on a very beautiful poem written by a young man in our office, in which people are encouraged to look deep within themselves to understand how much we have in common with every animal and leaf on the planet. The film's director, Veena Bakshi, obtained some of the best footage on the forests and animals of India to personify and bring to life each of the lines in the poem.

"We needed an earthy, memorable and famous voice to render the poem and thought who better than the Royal Bengal Tigress herself, Miss Universe Sushmita Sen, who has wonderful diction and a genuine love for nature," Lynn said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 21 2017. 15:08 IST