Casting capers: Maneka sees animals in wrong role

Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has locked horns with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), accusing it of being lax in enforcement of rules that specify how wild animals can be depicted in films and television programmes. The board is India’s apex body for ensuring that animals are not mistreated.

The minister has listed “blatant errors” by the AWBI subcommittee that screens applications from film-makers. She alleged that the committee did not seek details of the species being used, which were required to determine whether they were protected. It had even allowed their depiction in scenes that could promote cruelty to animals. This is against the Supreme Court’s orders.

Established in 1962 under Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960, the Animal Welfare Board of India is a statutory advisory body advising the Government of India on animal welfare laws, and promotes animal welfare in the country of India. Animal Welfare Board of India was started under the stewardship of Late Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale, well known humanitarian.

The Board was initially within the jurisdiction of the Government of India’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture. In 1990, the subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, where it now resides.

The Board consists of 28 Members, who serve for a period of 3 years.

It works to ensure that animal welfare laws in the country are followed and provides grants to Animal Welfare Organisations. The Board oversees Animal Welfare Organisations (AWOs) by granting recognition to them if they meet its guidelines.

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