Animal Welfare Board Of India is seeking help of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to take action against filmmakers who film beasts without obtaining permission from it
Tired of seeing animals being used, and often misused in films, the Animal Welfare Board Of India (AWBI) has decided to come down hard on errant filmmakers who take liberties with the law, and use animals in their productions without getting the necessary sanctions and paperwork in place.
The board has decided that it will not issue non-objection certificates (NOCs) to filmmakers who take footage of animals for their productions without taking permission from them. Not only that, it has decided to take legal action against them. The board has also lodged a complaint with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry about the errant producers who do not intimate the board before using footage of animals in their films.
As per the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules 2001 under the PCA Act 1960, producers of films in which animals are used should apply to the AWBI and furnish details of animals to be used, with details about their performance sequences, and their ownership certificates.
However, the board grumbled that many violated the law. Chinny Krishna, vice chairman of AWBI, said, "Maharashtra is the only state where producers flout the law so frequently. While some don't bother to take prior permission from the board, there are others who inform the board after the shooting is over. Others furnish wrong information and mistreat the animals. We have registered a complaint with the Information and Broadcast minister Ambika Soni regarding the same, and hopefully we will be able to tighten the law against the violators soon."
Krishna added that the board would take legal action against all those who were violating the law, explaining, "Shooting with animals can only be done after formal approval is obtained from AWBI in the form of an NOC. This can be achieved only after informing the board the date, time and exact location of film shooting, well before it is done. Not only this, applicants must submit the CDs with the signature and seal of the film company on them, while applying for the NOC. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse."
Legal notices served General Kharb, chairman of AWBI, said, "We have served legal notices or sought
explanation from many filmmakers on various grounds. We have been constantly receiving complaints that
many films released have never taken permission from the board before filming the animals."
Handle with care
The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has imposed a blanket ban on the use of animals like lions, tigers, panthers and monkeys in films. While shooting with other animals too, filmmakers will have to be careful. No animal can be used for scenes that are shot on hard surfaces (like tarred roads) or near barbed wires or explosives. Animals also cannot be made to travel for more than eight hours at a stretch.