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Zeenat Aman urges industry colleagues to avoid bringing wild animals to sets ‘at all costs’

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Shillong, May 3: Veteran actress Zeenat Aman on Friday shared her distress regarding the plight of both domestic and wild animals, urging her colleagues in the film industry to avoid bringing wild animals onto sets.

Taking to Instagram, Zeenat recounted an emotional experience she had while witnessing an elderly, domestic elephant on a project’s set.

The actress posted a picture of herself wearing a blue and white kurta, standing beside a table adorned with miniature elephant idols.

Her heartfelt note read, “I was brought to tears recently when I arrived on set to find an elderly, domestic elephant on the scene. She was standing on the burning asphalt, bejewelled and bedecked… and she stayed there all day as the cameras rolled. I was bound by contract to do my job, but I am absolutely guilt-ridden that such a majestic animal suffered for my job and your entertainment. The plight of animals, both domestic and wild, has always distressed me. I do not believe that any wild animal belongs in captivity, especially not an animal as perceptive, intelligent and emotional as an elephant. From the little I have learnt about this species, I know that they are highly sentient, social animals. To keep them in captivity is to willingly support cruelty.”

Making a sincere appeal to her industry friends and colleagues, the ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ fame actress said: “It is my sincere and urgent appeal to my colleagues and compatriots in the film industry to avoid bringing wild animals onto set at all costs. We are so lucky that India hosts the majority of the Asian elephant population in the world, and that this species is our National Heritage Animal. We are also blessed to have numerous organisations in India that work towards the welfare and conservation of this incredible animal. I am sharing a few resources from such organisations on my stories. I will be elated if you peruse them.”

The 72-year-old actress also shared an old newspaper clip with a headline ‘Calcutta Raises Over Rs 94,000 for WWF’.

The newspaper page has a message from then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Zeenat said: “My concern for wildlife is an old story – please swipe to see a snippet from 1974 – but it is only now that I am in a position to make more concerted appeals on these matters. And since I could not bear to pose with the beautiful ele that was subject to the chaos of our set, here is a picture of me with ‘my’ elephants that l have collected over the years.”

“In honour of this sentiment, today I would like to hear about your favourite wildlife encounters! Please leave a comment, and remember that the operative word here is ‘wild’. No comments about captive wild animals please! This includes performing monkeys, bottle-feeding tigers, talking parrots and all the rest,” she added.

“Signing off with hope for a kinder world where non-human species are afforded the dignity they deserve,” the note concluded. (IANS)

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