PETA Uk Names First-Ever Director Of South Asian Outreach
For Immediate Release:
28 April 2003
Dawn Carr 020 7357 9229, ext. 224
London – The UK affiliate of the international animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have named Poorva Joshipura as their first-ever director of South Asian campaigns. Joshipura, 26, will oversee all aspects of PETA’s campaigns targeted at South Asians in the UK.
Joshipura will focus on urging South Asians to adopt a healthy vegetarian diet by kicking the meat habit that some have acquired only since their families moved to the UK. Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans living in the UK have a higher premature death rate from coronary heart disease (CHD) than the average Briton. In the below-30 age group, CHD mortality among Indians is three-fold higher than for whites in the UK. About 25 per cent of heart attacks among men of Indian descent occur when they are younger than 40, which is rare in other populations. It is reported that Bangladeshi and Pakistani adults have the lowest levels of consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables when compared to other minority groups, and that the difference in the death rates between South Asians and the rest of the population is increasing.
Joshipura, whose family is from Gujarat, India went to school in the US, graduating magna cum laude from Old Dominion University in Virginia. She has worked at PETA’s world headquarters in the US and at its Indian affiliate office, where she headed a campaign to reform the Indian leather industry, successfully rallying more than 40 retail giants in the UK and worldwide—including Clarks, DaimlerChrysler, Gucci, Nike, Gap Inc., Kenneth Cole, Arcadia, Debenhams and Stylo—to use their buying power to encourage the Indian government to crack down on the widespread abuse of cows, buffaloes and other animals cruelly transported and crudely slaughtered for leather exports to the West.
As a result, the Indian Council for Leather Exports and Indian meat industry officials are now working with PETA to help implement badly needed reforms. Joshipura also enlisted the support of international celebrities, including Sir Paul McCartney, Jackie Chan, Pamela Anderson, Chrissie Hynde, the Dalai Lama, Brigitte Bardot and more than two dozen Indian stars. Her efforts resulted in Prime Minister Vajpayee sending an unprecedented directive to state governments to enforce animal-protection laws. Joshipura’s other successes include stopping Marshall Farms, a US-based supplier of animals to laboratories, from expanding its business to Europe and persuading the zoo in Mumbai not to keep its elephants perpetually chained.
As PETA’s campaign coordinator in India, Joshipura helped organise many celebrity campaigns, including PETA’s ‘Let Vegetarianism Grow on You’ photo shoot starring models John Abraham and Aditi Govitrikar wearing nothing but artfully arranged vegetables. She recruited Anupam Kher, who wrote a letter protesting cruelty at an abattoir in Mumbai, and Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, who starred in PETA’s ad asking the Indian government to update animal protection laws.
Joshipura has distributed PETA’s humane education programme, Compassionate Citizen, starring Jackie Shroff, South Indian heartthrob R Madhavan, MTV VJ Nafisa Joseph and John Abraham, for free to schools throughout India and co-ordinated attention-grabbing protests against cruelty in the Indian leather trade, including having a ‘cow’ follow the Indian prime minister during his visit to the US, arranging for a ‘butcher’ to ‘skin’ a ‘cow’ outside the UK retailer Next (which has now stopped supporting this cruelty), and orchestrating the beating of a life-sized ‘cow’ on the streets of Mumbai and Delhi. In Kenya, she sat in a cage to demonstrate the plight of chickens, and in Washington, DC, she participated in a ‘rather bare skin than wear skin demo’ in front of the White House.
‘I’m over the moon to have the opportunity to reach out to the South Asian community in the UK’, says Joshipura. ‘South Asians here are a dynamic force in art and industry and are powerful and influential. I believe South Asians can lead the way toward compassionate living.’
PETA, based in Norfolk, Virginia, is the largest animal rights organisation in the world, with more than 750,000 members and affiliated offices in Germany, India and the UK. PETA’s flamboyant campaigns against fur, including ads featuring nude models declaring, ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur’, have focused international attention on animal suffering. PETA also actively promote veganism and campaign against animal experiments, fishing, circuses and zoos.
Joshipura would like to hear from other South Asians who are interested in helping animals. She can be reached at [email protected]. For more information about PETA’s campaigns, please visit PETAUK.org and PETAIndia.org.
To arrange an interview with Poorva Joshipura, please contact Dawn Carr on 020 7357 9229 Ext. 224.