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Last Updated: Friday, 19 December, 2003, 13:11 GMT
Give leather the boot, India urged
Cow in Peta TV advert
The Hindi version features a well-known voice artiste
An animal welfare group is urging Indians to steer clear of wearing leather with an advertising campaign featuring singing cows.

"Do I make myself clear? Keep your hands off my rear!" croons a cow in the 30-second TV advert.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) hopes the lip-synched bovines will persuade Indians to boycott leather products.

The Hindi-language version of the advert is dubbed by Chetan Shashital, a well-known voice artiste who has worked with such celebrities as cricket stars Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar.

We'd like to stay together, we don't wanna be your leather
Singing cow

Peta's senior official in India Anuradha Sawhney said: "Peta's singing cows use humour to impart a serious message about how leather is seen from the animals' perspective."

The cow is a sacred animal in Hinduism but many people have raised concerns over its treatment.

Hindu campaign

Peta says cows are treated inhumanely by many transporters and butchers.

"After they are sold, many cows and other animals are marched for days and are given neither a sip of water nor a bite to eat," says Ms Sawhney.

Cows in Delhi
Treatment of cows, sacred to Hindus, is causing controversy

"Most are crammed in hideously overcrowded conditions in lorries."

India's leather industry has previously said it has nothing to do with inhumane treatment of cows, claiming such treatment damages hides.

The industry was recently estimated to employ more than 2.5 million people in India, many of whom are among the poorest members of society.

Its turnover was estimated to be around $4bn a year.

Hindu nationalists in India have been at the forefront of a campaign to ban the slaughter of cows.

Most Indian states prohibit the killing of cows for meat but some people allege that this is sometimes flouted.

Others argue that for many communities in India, especially in the north-east and in Goa and Kerala, beef is a mainstay of their diet.

This stand-off has often led to the cow being at the centre of a political controversy.

Peta, which is known for its colourful animal rights campaigns, has often used Hollywood celebrities to promote its cause.

Hard times for holy cows
30 Sep 03  |  South Asia
Beef book sparks Hindu protest
09 Aug 01  |  South Asia
India targets cow slaughter
11 Aug 03  |  South Asia

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