PETA India and columnist have heated Twitter argument

After columnist Shefali Vaidya accused PETA India of “selective outrage” against festivities, the animal rights group and Vaidya had a heated argument on Twitter.

The Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan will be taking place on August 3. This is the celebration of the relationship between brothers and sisters, and the sister ties a rakhi (a thread) on her brother’s wrist. In light of preparations, the Indian branch of PETA put up a billboard that left many people confused and angered.

The poster read: “This Raksha Bandhan, Please Protect ME: Go Leather Free” with a picture of a cow and a rakhi. And on Twitter, the organisation wrote: “This Raksha Bandhan, protect cows too.” The billboard was put up in many cities across India including Jaipur, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad.

This led to PETA India receiving backlash. It was accused of using an auspicious festival to promote animal protection, and people were confused as leather is not used to make rakhis in the first place. 

PETA India saw the concerns and wrote on Twitter: “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.”

Columnist and author Shefali Vaidya was not happy with PETA, accusing the organisation of “selective outrage” as it called out a festival that is not related to animal sacrifices. However, festivities like Eid al-Adha are ignored — which does.

Vaidya’s tweet prompted both the columnist and PETA India to go back and forth on social media. The company critiqued Vaidya on eating meat and telling her to stop with her “obsession with Eid” as she accused the company of being anti-Hindu.

And with Vaidya “exposing” the organisation for the way it has been “attacking” her, the hashtag “#petaindiaexposed” began trending on Twitter as well. 

Three days after the author’s initial tweet, Vaidya has since been sharing articles of the incident on Twitter and retweeting tweets in her support. At the same time, PETA India has been using the trending hashtag to promote its work on Twitter from saving animals, to exposing animal industries.

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