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Production house behind Vijay’s ‘Varisu’ gets show cause notice for using elephants without permission

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has issued a show cause notice to Hyderabad-based Venkateswara Creations, which is producing Vijay’s upcoming Tamil movie ‘Varisu’, for using five elephants without obtaining the mandatory pre-shoot permission.

AWBI secretary SK Dutta, in a written communication dated November 23, said using elephants without the pre-shoot permission from the Board is a violation of Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001.

The Board sent the notice based on a private complaint.

Dutta confirmed that the Board has not received the pre-shoot application from Venkateswara Creations from Tamil film ‘Varisu’ till date.

As per Rule 3(1) of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, every person has to register with the Board if the animals are being exhibited or trained.

Exhibiting the animals without the permission of the Board is an offense under Section 26 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

The Elephants are protected under Schedule–I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and as per Rule 7(2) of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, it is necessary to obtain prior permission for using performing animals in films.

There is a prescribed format to be followed specifying the kind of animal, age of the 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 — this must be provided along with a fitness certificate issued by a veterinary doctor certifying the health and fitness of the animal along with an ownership certificate in case of animals covered under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

However, the production house reportedly did not consult the Board, except for obtaining a transit permit from the Chief Wildlife Warden office.

The Board has directed Venkateswara Creations to submit a full and comprehensive explanation of the violations within seven days, failing which the Board would take any action as it may deem to consider proper and necessary for the welfare of the animals, the notice read.

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