Animal welfare board notice to Vodafone over pug ad
Chennai, May 1 : The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has accused
telecom service provider Vodafone of indulging in cruelty to animals
and issued a legal notice to the company and to Bangalore-based
Nirvana Films, makers of an advertisement that shows a pug running
after a school bus.
In its notice sent April 25, Chennai headquartered AWBI said: "The pet
dog was made to run, gallop and chase the school van for a long time
on a public road. Thereby, the dog was made to undergo severe pain and
suffering due to the exhaustion caused by chasing (the bus)."
AWBI lawyer S.R. Sundaram said: "The final film should strictly follow
the script submitted at the time of pre-shoot permission for the
animal performances. It is also directed that the performing animals
should not be subjected to any cruelty, failing which the AWBI will
initiate legal proceedings under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Nirvana Film's counsel Balshankar Menon had March 29 submitted an
application seeking the AWBI's approval of the advertisement, saying
that the male pug called Rocky was Vodafone's brand icon.
Menon said the film was shot in South Africa and Nirvana submitted a
"post-shoot fitness certificate duly signed by the veterinary doctor"
while appliying for the no-objection certificate.
AWBI has, however, told Nirvana Films and Vodafone that it has been
"illegally" telecasting the advertisement for the last two weeks as
AWBI's Film Screening Committee has found the portion of the
advertisment in which the pug runs behind the bus ojectionable.
The AWBI has ordered Nirvana Films and Vodafone to remove that part of
The legal notice states: "The third sequence in the ad film titled
'Vodafone Customer Service', which depicts and picturises the pug
holding the grey stripped school tie in its mouth and speedily chasing
behind the school van is objected to by the Film Screening Committee,
which has taken a decision to direct you to delete and remove
portion/sequence of picturisation in your ad film....
"Accordingly, you are hereby instructed and informed to delete/remove
the above said objectionable portion/sequence forthwith and send the
revised VCD for consideration by the Film Screening Committee of the
"It has been brought to the notice of the Film Screening Committee
that your ad film has been already telecast and continuously being
telecasted for the past two weeks and such a telecast is illegal, and
flagrant violation since the above said ad film is yet to be accorded
permission/ approval/clearance," it added.