Animal rights groups Monday lauded the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) advisory asking TV channels not to air content exhibiting harming and exploitation of animals.
Noting the arrival of TV reality shows exploiting animals, birds and insects through contests, the BCCC asked channels to not produce, purchase or broadcast such content.
"We compliment the council for its efforts to ensure quality television content for the Indian TV viewer. The way animals are currently depicted on television is appalling," said Arpan Sharma, chief executive officer, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO).
In an advisory issued Friday, the BCCC said many entertainment channels, especially those airing reality shows, were exhibiting content extremely harmful to animals.
The self-regulatory body for non-news and entertainment channels is headed by former chief justice of Delhi High Court A.P. Shah.
The BCCC said: "For instance, live insects are eaten to show courage in a manner that is distasteful and not conducive to health. A few channels have a reality show in which animals are killed week after week and animal parts such as sheep eyeballs and worms eaten in order to show bravery."
Animal lovers across the country were delighted by the advisory.
"Since it is for the welfare of animals, we welcome this advisory and hope that many other agencies will come forward and show compassion to help animals institutionally," said R.M. Kharb, chairperson, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
Khushboo Gupta, campaign coordinator with FIAPO, said the advisory was a fructification of the hard work of rights groups.
"We were tired of feeling helpless about animals being killed, teased or handled with severe callousness for entertainment. That's when we started encouraging people in our network to file complaints with the BCCC," Gupta said.
The BCCC advisory also highlighted a grim picture of such shows that came at a cost of the lives of speechless.
"Not only are animals hurt and killed before, during and post filming, in many cases animals, especially reptilian and wild mammalian, are depicted as cruel and fearful, when in fact they are placed in unnatural environments, and their natural behaviour is repressed," the BCCC advisory said.