The billboard advertisement

Guwahati: PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is known for its shock tactics and baffling advertisements to make a point. A new billboard asking people to “go leather-free” this Raksha Bandhan left many netizens scratching their head.

In a Twitter post introducing the new billboard campaign, PETA wrote, “This Raksha Bandhan, protect cows too.” The billboard posters are now up in Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kanpur, and Patna.

The billboard campaigns in Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kanpur, and Patna

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Additionally, in a blog post, PETA wrote, “We aim to raise awareness of the cruelty that cows, buffaloes, goats, and other animals endure before their skin is turned into shoes, bags, and other accessories.”

Netizens slammed PETA for the ill-timed campaign with most questioning the relation between leather and rakhis. As the strings that women tie on their brother’s wrist are seldom made of leather. Hence using the auspicious day of celebration of sibling love and protection has no part in cow protection and the usage of leathers they argued.

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PETA clarified on Twitter that their intention was never to imply that rakhis are made of leather. It was rather a ploy to extend the spirit of ‘protection’ towards cows as well. They wrote, “We didn’t say rakhis are made of leather. We said Raksha Bandhan is a good day to extend protection to cows who are our sisters under the skin by taking a pledge to go leather-free, for life. That’s a message all kind people can get behind.” In yet another reply they clarified that “It’s simple: Cows need protection. Raksha Bandhan is a great day to extend protection to our sisters in the animal kingdom by pledging to go leather-free for life. The outrage is better directed at this violence, rather than at a message of kindness.”

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This is not the first time that PETA received backlash with its billboard campaigns. Earlier this month a billboard campaign offended Islamic sentiments in Lucknow as it urged people to turn vegan and stop goat slaughter. This happened right around the time of “Bakri Eid” wherein goat slaughter is a part of the ritual which was just around the corner.

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