PETA to push its cause at Goa fest

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 17, 2013 14:10 hrs

Panaji, Jan 17 (IANS) Farhan Akhtar's six-pack abs, his dimpled smile and his crooning may not be the only things to be discussed at Indiafest 2013, one of the biggest pan-India inter-collegiate festivals, set to begin Friday at Goa's popular Baga beach.

Animal rights activists claim that the two-day festival in which 50,000 college students are expected to participate would be the ideal place to pitch for the ethical treatment of animals.

"Nokia Indiafest is the perfect place to get young people involved in one of the most critical issues of our time: Animal rights," says Neha Singh, youth outreach advisor with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

PETA would also hold numerous contests and even dispense literature on a number of topical animal rights issues. Signatures would be collected for petitions to be sent to the central government on the rights of animals, Neha Singh said.

Two petitions to be circulated at the festival relate to the demand for a ban on cosmetics that use animal parts, and the prevention of testing of household products on animals.

Currently, the union ministry of health and family welfare is already weighing its options on the issue. PETA hopes that some vigorous lobbying will help tilt the scales in favour of animals.

"The second petition urges the government to pass an updated draft of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, which includes a substantial increase in fines as well as possible imprisonment for convicted abusers," Singh said, adding that current fines of Rs.10 to Rs.50 have remained unchanged for over half a century, and the sums are too miniscule to have any deterrent value.

"Once people learn about the benefits of going vegan, about what happens to animals in laboratories and of the importance of sterilising dogs and cats, they are much more likely to help alleviate animal suffering," Singh said.

Among the top bands and musicians set to perform at the fest are: Jalebee Cartel, Raghu Dixit Project, Sha'air and Funk. Farhan Akhtar, who will be crooning live after a gap of two years, is likely to be the festival's biggest crowd-puller.

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