A bizarre sight greeted people at Kanakakunnu Palace gate in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. A woman played dead, dressed in a costume which showed her as a ‘bloodied and charred’ as she was being ‘barbecued’. Under her was a faux charcoal grill.
The tableau (installation) was part of a campaign by animal rights NGO PETA. Their message: “Meat is murder, try vegan.”
“Most of us would never want to munch on a human, so there is no reason for us to chow down on a chicken,” 22-year-old Ayushi Sharma, a PETA campaigner, told the media.
This tableau protest comes days before International Meatless Day which is on November 25.
Ayushi told TNM that they were planning similar installations in different places in India. “We want to convey that all animals are made of bones, flesh and blood. They go through pain, and have emotions just like us. Life is precious and shouldn’t be seen as food to be served on your plate,” she argued.
“The message behind staging a human barbecue is to urge people to shift to vegan meals. Would people want to chew on human bodies? Why would we do such a barbaric act towards animals then?” Ayushi questioned.
In a statement released by PETA on Thursday regarding the campaign, PETA claims that slaughter animals are beaten, dragged and typically denied even basic necessities like food, water and veterinary care. PETA also claims that the animals are killed in front of one another and often skinned alive.
The statement added that consumption of meat results in an increased risks of heart disease, strokes, cancer and obesity. It also cites a UN report which says that global shift towards veganism is necessary to combat climate change.
Sumita, a member of People for Animals (PFA), who had come in support of PETA said, “We just don’t think through our acts. All our health-related issues in this today can be controlled if we are ready to be vegan and give up meat.”
“A shift to vegan meals is important not just to save animals and our environment, but also for our own survival,” Ayushi argues.
PETA has stirred controversy a few times with its polarising campaigns against eating meat. Earlier this year, another campaign by PETA featured Sunny Leone, and urged people to go vegetarian. It had caused debate because of its objectification of women to push an agenda.