By Anukriti Roy
First publised on 2021-12-28 16:55:40
The West Bengal forest department, on discovering a trend on social media where professional photographers held photo shoots with professional models who held birds or animals in their hands, has issued notices to 10 such offenders. It is a crime to shoot with birds or animals without getting an NOC from Animal Welfare Board of India. The notices have asked the offenders to report to the Forest Range officer and explain their action failing which they legal action will be taken against them. They have been charged under several sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
A report in The Times of India said that the models and the photographers said they were not aware of the legal provisions. An officer of the department was also quoted as saying that people are not aware and awareness should be created that it is a crime to cage and keep some animals and birds. While this is true to some extent, the law is clear in this regard - ignorance of law is no excuse and does not lessen the crime in any way.
There is a tendency in the entertainment industry to take things casually and never seek legal advice before doing things. This is true all over the country. There are many laws to protect animals and all films that use animals have to adhere to them and certify and show a mandatory statement that animals have not been harmed. Also, there are regular reports in the media about people getting arrested for selling birds or smuggling animals or their parts. Hence, the awareness, at least in those connected with the entertainment world, is there.
If an offence has been committed, the law must take its own course. It does not matter if the offenders did not know about the law. They should have known. In any case, if these offenders are punished, the awareness will be instant and rules will not be flouted in future.
Representative picture, not of actual model charged with the crime. Courtesy Pinterest