Eye-Opening Scenes Depicting Mutilation and Abuse Deemed Too Gruesome
Islamabad – A provocative new public service announcement (PSA) which aims to educate people about the plight of Pakistan’s dancing bears has been banned by Pakistan Television Corp. In a bid to expose viewers to the horrific mutilations and abuse that dancing bears endure, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia-Pacific (PETA) tried to buy a spot during the network’s prime time. PTV ad executives said the video – which shows a screaming man being burned and tethered through the nose like a dancing bear – was too graphic. PETA’s subsequent attempts to meet PTV’s requirements and run the ad during late-night spots with a subtitle ensuring viewers that it was made using special effects were also met with resistance. The 40-second PSA, written by Tony Burke and directed and produced by the award winning London based production company, Diamond Bullet Productions, has been forced on to the internet at www.peta.org.
“We’re shocked that with all the violence constantly aired on TV today, this ad – which motivates viewers to help rid Pakistanâ€™s streets of illegal madaris with bears – would be rejected”, says PETA Director Jason Baker. “PTV claims this ad is too graphic, but it is a reality for the more than 600 dancing bears in Pakistan.”
Even though it has been illegal to capture bears in Pakistan since 2001, there are still more than 600 sloth bears being forced to dance for money by madaris. Bear cubs who are barely 1 year old squeal in agony as red-hot needles are jabbed through their noses and thick ropes are forced through the throbbing wounds. When the ropes are tugged, the bears lift their legs and “dance”. Most of their teeth are pulled out, and they are trained through pain and starvation. Many cubs die before the training begins because of the stress of capture; those who survive live an average of only 8 years – compared to the 30-year life expectancy of bears in the wild. PETA strongly urges anyone who encounters a madari with a bear to report the madari to the police.
For more information and to view the video, please visit http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/dancing_bears.
For Immediate Release:
29 May 2007
Jason Baker + 852 6200 7588 (Hong Kong); JasonB@peta.org
Poorva Joshipura + 44 207 357 9229 (PETA Europe)
Click on the photograph below to see the Urdu version of the press release.