Mumbai, March 5: India cricketer Rohit Sharma has featured in a new advertisement for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) with his face appearing scarred by an 'ankus' - the prod - to raise awareness about the treatment towards elephants in circuses.
Sharma, who is with the Indian team in Bangladesh for the ongoing Asia Cup, through the new ad "Try to Relate to Elephants' Fate - Ban Animal Circuses" wants to spread the message how elephants and other animals in circuses are subjected to chronic confinement, physical abuse with the iron prods and psychological torment.
"Animals deserve respect, not to be imprisoned in small enclosures and forced to perform degrading and meaningless tricks out of fear of punishment. We cricketers love our sport, and we willingly participate. But animals in circuses are beaten into performing against their will," Sharma said in a statement.
Whips and other weapons - including 'ankus', which are heavy, sharp steel-tipped prods - are often used to inflict pain on elephants and beat them into submission.
Following a nine-month investigation of circuses by a team that included representatives from PETA and its sister organisation Animal Rahat, the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body operating under the ministry of environment and forests, decided to stop the registration of elephants used to perform in circuses. However, this decision is yet to be implemented.