The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Friday made an ‘open offer’ to model Poonam Pandey – who has expressed her intention to bare all if India wins the cricket World Cup – to use her skin show for the benefit of animals.
In an open letter, PETA India’s chief Poorva Joshipura has said that though Poonam has said she is comfortable in her own skin, it is no fun for animals who are skinned to make cricket balls.
“I wonder if you would consider using your skin to save animals’ skin and make cricket fun for everyone, animals included, by starring in the buff in an ad for PETA to urge the International Cricket Council (ICC) to switch to synthetic balls?” Joshipura urged.
She said animals are mercilessly slaughtered for their skin, endure extreme crowding and deprivation, castration, branding, tail-docking and dehorning without any pain relief and cruel transport before being killed.
In India, where much of the world’s leather comes from, cattle are marched for days to slaughter without food or water. Those who collapse from exhaustion have their eyes smeared with chilli peppers and tobacco and their tails broken in an effort to keep them moving.
At some abattoirs, animals are often skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious, she pointed out.
Besides, there are other hazards – like turning animal skins into leather requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals, and the runoff from leather tanneries poisons rivers and streams.
Joshipura, quoting a report by the Central Pollution Control Board, said Vellore in Tamil Nadu – with about 6,000 tanneries – is alarmingly polluted.
Moreover, the tannery workers are exposed to chemicals which have been linked to cancer, respiratory infections and other illnesses. Studies of leather-tannery workers in Sweden and Italy found cancer risks 20-50 percent above expected.
Synthetic balls are not only kinder to animals but also safer for the environment. With the technology available today, they can be made durable, water resistant, and customised to meet players’ needs.
“Won’t you consider stripping for a good cause and help us call on the International Cricket Council to show that cricket is truly a gentleman’s sport by choosing synthetic balls over leather ones? Your involvement would both turn heads and win hearts to the cause of animal protection,” Joshipura said in her invite to Poonam.
Meanwhile, speaking to a local TV channel, Poonam said she would seek permission from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Mumbai Police before her ‘bare all’ act.
“I have no intention of distracting the Indian team members. It will be a legal act and it’s my own idea of celebrating India’s victory in the ICC World Cup,” she claimed, adding that the venue for the act would be announced later.