The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Animals get censor shield

Mumbai, Sept. 6: A film can now be banned because it features an animal not registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India.

Bombay High Court has directed the Censor Board of Film Certification to check, before clearing a movie, if the producer has registered the animals or birds in it (if any) with the welfare board. The curb applies also to producers of advertisements.

The welfare board, which will issue a certificate after registration, will ensure that the animals are not mistreated and will act against the filmmakers if they are.

The judgment, passed last week, came on a public interest litigation filed by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta). The petition objected to the use of a parakeet in an advertisement of a leading telecom company last year.

The bench of Chief Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said no one can be allowed to ignore the provisions of the Animal (Registration) Rules.

The court asked censor officials to get in touch with the various film industry associations and try and make filmmakers aware of the need for welfare board registration.

Top Peta official Anuradha Sawhney welcomed the “landmark” judgment, saying it will go a long way in protecting animals. She plans to move court again seeking a specific order relating to protected species, such as elephants and snakes.

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