- In a letter to MOEF, Maneka Gandhi has pointed at a list of blatant errors committed by Animal Welfare Board of India while permitting the use of animals in films and television programmes.
- Indian cinema is often accused of depicting animals in films and ads in inappropriate ways.
- In 2006 the Bombay high court held that films featuring animals should obtain clearance certificates by AWBI.
- Only after the clearance certificates are issued by AWBI, that the censor board could clear films with animals.
- Further in 2009, the Supreme Court had held that films using animals must get the nod of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) before their release.
Rules governing animal usage in films
- A filmmaker using an animal has to get pre-shoot permission from Animal Welfare Board of India at least a month before shooting begins.
- According to the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, people using animals for performance should register with AWBI.
- The AWBI inspects to ensure the animals are being looked after properly and then issues an NOC.
- This NOC has to be presented to the CBFC to further grant the film clearance.
- The Performing Animal Sub Committee (PASC) issues no-objection certificates (NOC) for films featuring animals.
Prevention of cruelty to animals in India
- The Animal Welfare Board of India is the regulatory authority for prevention of cruelty to animals.
- It also ensures that animals are not treated cruelly during the use of animals in entertainment and filming.
- In the event of any cruelty during shooting is reported, the certificate will be withdrawn.
- However this procedure does not apply to animals are found naturally in nature, in zoos or in markets where they have not been brought for the filming but present already.
Restrictions in depicting animals
- There is no objection to the use of animals but on how they are used and what is depicted, to avoid cruelty to the animals.
- Few restrictions include:
- Tripping of animals or falling off cliffs
- Animals made to run through fire
- Animal fights like cockfights where the animals are traumatised and suffer injury
- Filming of stunts without trained animals and their trainers
- The use of sick or injured or pregnant animals for shooting
- Tranquillising wild animals / reptiles
- The cropping of bird feathers
- The use of all protected and exotic wildlife including dear, peacock and snakes – all except the domesticated animal, the pigeon and the crow.
- Depiction of animals being slaughtered in a heroic manner