Body-painted PETA activists to protest in Mumbai

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which routinely grabs headlines in the West with ads showing provocatively dressed (or undressed) actors or activists, is all set to bring its campaign to India.

Activists from the organization, known for its provocative campaigns against animal cruelty, will hold up banners outside the Byculla Zoo at noon on Wednesday, dressed only in body-paint.

“Bodypainted in an array of bright colours and holding a banner that reads, “Let Animals Show Their True Colours: Boycott Zoos”, members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India will gather outside Byculla Zoo in Mumbai, in advance of Holi,” the organization said in a statement.

The organization recently came under fire for an ad showing a battered-looking young woman with the tagline ‘Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom Out of Me’.

By its protest in India, PETA will be showing its long-time opposition to the concept of Zoos — a place where wild animals are kept in cages for the amusement of visitors.

“PETA is asking the residents of Mumbai to let animals show their true colours by boycotting zoos. We are also asking India as a whole to make every effort to help these suffering animals enjoy their natural habitats instead of being locked up in cages,” PETA India Chief Functionary Poorva Joshipura said.

PETA’s plan of action follows a recent ‘direct action’ attempt by global environmental activist group Greenpeace, in which volunteers tried to paint ‘Switch Off Diesel’ on Airtel’s headquarters in Gurgaon.

Indian NGOs usually adopt low profile and peaceful ways of protests, such as holding dharnas and agitations, to push home their points while western activists can get very colourful in their advocacy.

PETA activists in the West often turn up outside offending organizations’ shops and offices provocatively dressed, sometimes in paint, and holding banners. They also take out similar advertisements in magazines and on TV.

PETA pointed out that animals in zoos are denied everything that is natural and important to them, including the opportunity to fly, swim, select partners and socialise.

“They often express their frustration and loneliness through obsessive, repetitive and even self-destructive behaviour. No zoo can come close to offering the space, environmental enrichment, ecological diversity and complex habitats that animals need to thrive” it said.

PETA’s investigations of zoos across India have revealed horrific conditions, including deficiencies in food, drinking water, housing, veterinary care and environmental enrichment, it added.