We are for Dogs

There is no Pedigree company in Bharat to supply non-toxic and nutritious food for starved people and say, “We’re for humans”

Freeze FRAME

SYEDA AFSHANA

The ad for dog feed by Pedigree Petfoods carries the brand manifesto saying, “We’re for dogs”. Pedigree is for dogs, because the company believes that “Dogs rule” and claims—“Everything we do is for the love of dogs. For us, dogs aren’t just our job, they’re our life. From dogs in our offices to dog-friendly meeting rooms, we’re passionate about paws. Our dedication goes into every product we make – we’ve even been known to taste our food!”
Well, dogs are becoming important everywhere. Their life is now the life of living. If they are fine, human beings have a lesson to carry. They live a better life than the rest. That’s why company like Pedigree emphatically declares that it is for dogs though the plausible reason may also be that for the pedigree company dogs only rule because they can make money off them! 
Interestingly, accused of using 4D raw meat ingredients that have been sourced from Dead, Dying, Diseased, or Disabled animals, Pedigree too has been criticized despite its tall posturing. So, does it mean humans can play foul even with dogs? Seems a tricky question.
 Playing foul with animals appears slight in comparison to duping human beings and taking their toll. From cannon fodder to human feed, Bihar, the poorest state as per the data released by Planning Commission in 2012, provides a compelling example of this corollary. A week ago, some 23 students, most of them under 10 years of age, lost their lives after eating mid-day meal served to them in the primary school of village Chhapra in Bihar. The forensic report revealed that the oil used to prepare the meals on the fateful day contained high levels of monocrotophos, a pesticide substance that is highly toxic to humans. Pertinently, in 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) had urged India to ban monocrotophs. The substance is a nerve poison and stands already banned in at least 46 countries including China, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The free mid-day meal (MDM) scheme in India is designed to check malnutrition and draw poor children to school. ‘Its importance is felt every day in millions of homes; it’s perhaps the only full meal for their children’, writes CEO of Azim Premji Foundation (Livemint, 24 July-2013).
As reported, two audit details by the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh point out that mid-day meals are often contaminated with stones and worms. Even midday meals in Delhi schools have been found to fail hygiene standards. Poor storage, unscrupulous contractors, weak checks and untrained supervisors combine to serve up a deadly menu for many among 160 million students covered under the food programme across the country (Times of India, 26 July- 2013).
For poor kids who fell to this human cheat, life was cheaper than dogs. The feed was not filled with 4D ingredients but was contaminated to render kids 4D.
Compare this further with an ad done by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan for a nationwide campaign to eradicate malnutrition ‘Kuposhan Bharat Chodho’. The UN estimates that malnutrition in India is nearly double that of sub-Saharan Africa. According to UNCIEF, one in every three malnourished children in the world lives in India where around 46 percent of all children under three years are too small for their age and 47 percent are underweight, and many are severely malnourished.
 Aamir Khan, the UNICEF brand ambassador for malnutrition, and McCann, the creative ad agency have added glamour to Kuposhan, which protrudes out in an ugly way in a state like Bihar. Known as the ‘Hunger Capital’ of world with 200 million half-starved people, malnutrition figures have hardly budged over the years, pushing some to question if malnutrition is India’s worst kept secret.
The campaign draw a lot of criticism, questioning the connect between real and surreal about the issue of malnutrition in India. Many critics termed it as an another cruel joke on an issue as grave as malnutrition. A columnist in India Today wrote-“To appoint Aamir Khan- who has endorsed junk food like colas and biscuits for a significant part of his career - as ambassador for nutrition or malnutrition is simply absurd. It would be like making Nana Patekar-- who has been brand ambassador of GM seeds of Monsanto--a champion of organic farming or brand ambassador against farmer suicides in Vidarbha or like featuring Fardeen Khan (endorser of Pan Bahar Pan Masala) in a campaign against oral cancers or asking Hema Malini (of Kent water purifier ad) to promote national drinking water mission” (India Today, 29 Dec-2012).


  Perhaps, this is a paradox called India, struggling to survive in present with a humanitarian crisis like malnutrition of staggering proportions and having dreams of being a superpower of future. And yet, the dark ages have not ended in Bharat. There is no Pedigree company in Bharat to supply non-toxic and nutritious food for starved people and say, “We’re for humans”. The political class that rules and rides the country counts votes alone, not lives of people. They think and act for votebank. They are for votes and for all that can fetch them votes, dogs or dog-issues included.(The columnist teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, University of Kashmir)

Lastupdate on : Sat, 27 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 27 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 28 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST




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