Pashu Sandesh, 04 April 2019

Dr. R. B. Chaudhary

Dr Neelam Baala, Secretary Animal Welfare Board of India(AWBI) has recently participated an interactive national programme titled “Shoot at Site”, organised on the side-line FICCI FRAMES 2019, Asia’s largest global convention on the business of entertainment in Hotel Grand Hyatt, Mumbai on 13th March 2019. This unique, probably for the first time, the Shoot at Site was organised to facilitate film producers by highlighting animation techniques to minimise the use of animals in site shooting scenes to replace real animals and also remember as an important responsibility of film industry.

Dr Neelam Bala highlighted legal issues of animal welfare during the site shoot when the real animals are used and animal cruelties occur during shoot directly or indirectly. She focused the various important issues of animals’ use relating to procedural aspects of provisions made under Performing Animals Rules (Registration), 2001 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 as well as the concept of animal rights and animal ethics.

Dr Bala explained the due procedure for obtaining No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) for film production if animals are used. She said that the registration process is very simple and fast if all necessary documents are submitted to obtain the certificates. However, using animals is a mandatory requirement for getting Film Certification from the Central Board of Film Certification.

She also emphasized on the major precautions for ensuring the welfare of performing animals and providing a good working environment. There has been an all-out effort in recent times to provide NOCs expeditiously and single window clearance has eased the process cutting delays which are become thing of past.

Dr Neelam Baala interacted with members of Film Producers Guild and their President, Shri Makkar in the afternoon session. She replied to the queries raised by film producers and explained the process in detail. Asking on the on the formalities for shooting the films, if animals used, she said that the permission is granted, if any person desirous of training or exhibiting a performing animal shall, within thirty days from the commencement of these rules, apply for registration to the prescribed authority and shall not exhibit or train any animal as a performing animal without being registered under these Rules.

“Every owner desirous of hiring out or lending a performing animal in the making of a film shall give prior information in the format as specified by the prescribed authority for this purpose to specifying the kind of animal, age of animal, physical health of the animal, the nature of performance to be done by the animal, the duration for which the animal shall be used for such performance, the duration and method of training of the animal for such performance and justification for the use of such animals in the film and such other information as may be required by the authority” ,said Dr. Neelam.

According to an officer of the organising committee, this Second Edition of FICCI FRAMES Market is India's largest market for media & entertainment content & services to the Indian sellers were exclusive. Many new issues like animal welfare/care were highlighted during the FICCI FRAMES 2019 and also buyer-seller meeting was also arranged in the programme to discuss business issues in details for mutual benefits.

Thus, this event had offered services to facilitate and encourage film producers and other stakeholders and participants appreciated the services and outreach of the Animal Welfare Board of India. She requested the film industry to love animals, help animals and save animals.

About Author: Dr. R. B chaudhary is a science writer/communicator and former media head of the Animal Welfare Board of India)