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Updated: January 19, 2014 02:58 IST

Practices at Chennai animal expo draw flak

Evelyn Ratnakumar
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A live fish is being given to every visitor who produces his/her ticket. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam
The Hindu A live fish is being given to every visitor who produces his/her ticket. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

While the ongoing Sea World Expo 2014 at Valluvar Kottam continues to draw visitors, animal lovers have been frowning at many practices at the expo.

With a ticket costing Rs. 50 for adults, the public can gaze at a variety of fish housed in medium-sized tanks.

Giresh Nair, a fish hobbyist who visited the expo with his family, said many of the fish were found cowering in fear, terrified of the environment.

“In many fish, the eyes were enlarged, indicating they were under a lot of stress. They also nudged themselves into crevices to avoid being seen by the visitors,” he said.

Shahul, owner of Aquarium Centre, gave away one live fish to every visitor who produced his/her ticket. He said, “I ensure the oxygen and water levels in the packets are of the right amount, before sealing the fish in them. These fish can survive six hours after they are thus packed to be transported.”

Mr. Nair said he was shocked to see this happening. “The fish are already stressed when they are transported in such packets. The usual practice would be to wrap such packets in a black polythene cover to ensure they are not too stressed out by the light. This too is not being done,” he added.

Another visitor and animal volunteer, Nivetha, said it was very wrong to give away fish purely as a marketing gimmick. “Buying or adopting a pet should be a conscious decision and not one that should be taken lightly,” she says.

K. Venkataraman, director, Zoological Survey of India, said, “It is a great concern when fish are given away in this manner to every visitor, especially to those who have little or no idea how to rear aquarium fish.”

The expo also has a section where visitors can take pictures with birds, rabbits and guinea pigs. Kumar, proprietor of AVR Pets, said he had to clip the wings of these exotic birds, in order to prevent them from flying around while visitors pet them.

KSSVP Reddy, chief conservator of forests and director, Vandalur Zoo, told The Hindu that exotic birds do not come under the purview of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, as they are not part of the scheduled wildlife species listed in the Act.

The expo, which commenced on January 14, will end on Sunday.

More In: Chennai | News

Thanks to The Hindu for reporting on this. This is absolutely cruel. The organisers could have used the platform to spread the message of kindness, compassion but instead have frittered it away to teach youngsters more cruelty. How difficult was it for the organisers to put in place a code of conduct that included among other things, that animals could not be used for any marketing which would jeopardise their well-being? I am sure most of the people would have let the fish die once they got home. This article also highlights the cruelty involved in pet trade – from breeding fish to dogs, the entire pet trade reeks of crass commercialisation and wanton cruelty and suffering to animals.

from:  Gopi Shankar
Posted on: Jan 22, 2014 at 01:14 IST

its hight time we learn to respect each life form on this earth and not
use them for our entertainment. Thank you Hindu for writing about this .

from:  Amritika Phool
Posted on: Jan 21, 2014 at 11:12 IST

This is so sad that just for the purposes of making more money human beings can play with the lives of voiceless birds and fish.Organisers must ensure that humane methods are employed in such events.

from:  Nadir Khan
Posted on: Jan 21, 2014 at 07:52 IST

Thank you for reporting this. It is horrible how Indians behave as if
animals are things and don't feel pain, hurt or discomfort. Someone
should really shut down all these shows. Also, I am amazed to know that
exotic birds don't come under the wildlife Act.

from:  Smita
Posted on: Jan 21, 2014 at 06:36 IST

I'm glad such exposes have come about.

Hope it genuinely influences concerned authorities to take suitable
action and better educate people as well.

from:  Kanwarjit
Posted on: Jan 21, 2014 at 04:46 IST

How absolutely barbaric! Why are fish being given away to casual visitors who may have no idea of how to care for them? And can the Aquarium Centre guarantee that the visitors will reach home within the time limit, before the fish die of lack of oxygen? This is nothing but condemning most of the fish to a horrible death, and all for a marketing gimmick. Kudos to the Hindu for shedding light on such horrors in the name of an "animal expo".

from:  Kavita
Posted on: Jan 21, 2014 at 00:26 IST

We need to regularise such events in annual events so that we all learn from previous
similar events to improve and educate and learn from all experiences.We shall only
improve .

from:  Dr.Krish Srikanth
Posted on: Jan 20, 2014 at 08:14 IST

It is such a shame that Blue Fish Housing chose to sponsor SUCH an event. I would
like to know whether they received necessary approvals from AWBI for this event.
Going by all the money they would have pocketed via ticket sales, I am sure they only
most likely to return with similar events, ever so unabashedly. Unless of course,
organisations such as AWBI and FIAPO rein in on such unlawful, unethical
individuals/organizations.

Hats of to the journos, editors who did this story. You guys at The Hindu have always
taken a stand on animal issues. We are proud of you. THANK YOU!

from:  Giresh Nair
Posted on: Jan 20, 2014 at 00:34 IST
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