Cruelty to animals: Use of reptiles in events raises public concern in Berhampur

Nabarangpur: As competition reaches all time high, big and small event management companies are leaving no stone unturned to attract customers by all possible means. The use of wild animals for display during wedding and other functions by one such firm in Berhampur has not only become the talk of the town but also has now evoked sharp criticisms from several quarters.

As per reports, the event management firm offers a selfie zone and allows guests to play and click selfies with reptiles like python and iguana during ceremonies. A video showing a girl playing and clicking pictures with a python which was released by the company earlier, has gone viral on social media.

Shortly after the video was posted on social media, animal lovers and wildlife experts openly showed displeasure over the use of animals for public display. They have further questioned as to how animals listed in vulnerable category under the Wildlife Acts are being used in functions and other events.

“The visual of the snake captured in the video shows that it is a rock python and listed under Schedule II of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. We have seen many cases regarding exploitation of snakes in Ganjam district but the concerned forest department and police have not been proactive in acting against the cruelty to animals. If action is taken in this regard, it will create awareness among the people,” opines Snake Helpline member, Swadhin Kumar Sahu.

“People are blatantly using wild animals like snakes, iguana, chameleon, fishes etc in public for making money and no legal action is being taken against them. The wildlife protection acts and laws seem to have become worthless here,” regrets social activist of People’s For Animals, Samirkant Tripathy.

Meanwhile, after repeated complaints in connection with the issue, Berhampur Forest Division has taken the matter seriously and initiated an investigation.

Berhampur DFO Asish Behera has accepted the use of python by the event management firm during marriage and other functions and assured to take action after probe.

“We had received reports of an event management company in Berhampur using African ball python and directed our officials to collect facts regarding it. We are investigating the details about the company and checking whether such firms are using reptiles and animals found in India and Odisha or are also making use of animals from other nations,” said Behera.