Lying “naked” on a bed of red chillies and next to the tagline “Spice Up Your Life – Go Vegetarian”, top model, popular VJ and Miss India Earth 2001 Shamita Singha appears in a brand-new ad (shot by ace photographer Dilip Bhatia) for petaDishoom, the youth division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals India (PETA).
Why does Shamita want people to go vegetarian? Animals slaughtered for meat are crammed into vehicles in such large numbers that many become severely injured or die en route. Animals are hit, dragged and cruelly and illegally handled and are often not provided with even basic necessities such as food, water and veterinary treatment.At the slaughterhouse, they are killed in view of one another and are often dismembered and skinned while they are still conscious.
Chickens are crowded by the tens of thousands into filthy sheds that reek of ammonia fumes from their accumulated waste, and are bred and drugged to grow so quickly that they often become crippled under their own weight. At the slaughterhouse, their throats are slit and their bodies are dunked into scalding-hot water for feather removal, often while they are still conscious.
A vegetarian diet is also better for your health. “I turned vegetarian when I was quite young because I realised that if I really loved animals, I could not eat them. … [Meat] is not healthy and not good for your body”, says Shamita. When asked how she maintains her good looks and trim figure, Shamita replies, “I am a [vegetarian], and so I eat a lot of veggies, salads and fruits, and those foods are alive, so I am alive! And in terms of working out, I get all my energy from veggies and fresh stuff.”
Young people can help “dishoom” animal abuse by visiting petaDishoom.com, where they can find out what their favourite stars are doing to help animals and register to win great prizes like iPods, mobile phones and items autographed by celebrities. They can also earn T-shirts, caps, wallets and other items for taking simple actions to help animals.