Ace tennis player Sania Mirza recently featured in an advertisement by All India Poultry Development and Services Pvt Ltd (AIPDSPL) that boasted about the pros of including poultry meat in one’s diet. The ad went on to claim that the poultry industry does not misuse antibiotics. However, in light of these claims, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has called out the ad for highlighting misleading and exaggerated facts.
According to CSE, the ad, which featured in The Times Of India’s February 28th edition, falsely claimed that the poultry sector was not misusing antibiotics. Moreover, the ad had also misrepresented the results of a 2014 CSE study on antibiotic residues in chicken.
Responding to the complaint, which was filed by the Humane Society International, India, the Advertisement Standards Council of India (ASCI) has asked for the ad to be withdrawn or modified the advertisement by May 23, 2018.
“We are happy with the decision by ASCI. It reaffirms what we had categorically said (that the advertisement was misleading the people of this country). It is wrong to state that the poultry sector is not misusing antibiotics, which is absolutely different from the ground reality,” says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.
Meanwhile, the CSE has also urged Mirza to disassociate herself from the ambiguous advertisement, as indiscriminate antibiotic use adds to growing antibiotic resistance, which is a huge public health threat. Moreover, given the athlete’s popularity and influence over viewers, especially youth, being part of such a campaign could only bring harm.
“Earlier, we had written to Mirza apprising her about the malpractice of antibiotic misuse in poultry sector and the libelous nature of this advertisement. As a responsible role model, we urged her to publicly disassociate herself from this advertisement. We once again ask her to consider doing so,” stated Amit Khurana, senior programme manager, food safety and toxins, CSE.