Alpenliebe and Cruelty To Zoo Animals

Kids imbibe a lot from the media and their young impressionable minds are easily influenced by advertisements. I am sure there must be many parents who face the daily challenge of denying their kids’ demands and making them understand that why are they not buying the super cool thing shown on tv. I think nowadays around 90% of ads have kids in them and when a kid watches such a commercial, he/she wants the same thing as the kid on tv. Now what if an advertisement is about a small thing such as an Alpenliebe toffee but knowingly or unknowingly shows an act; which if the kids don’t understand to be wrong, they might imitate even when they are adults. I am talking about the act of feeding animals in zoo by visitors.

In the commercial, Kajol feeds the toffee to a crocodile in zoo and the croc finds it so tasty that it keeps following her around. Here is the commercial –

Every zoo has a sign board about rules for visitors among which one prominent rule is not to tease or feed the animals. But during my last trip to the zoo, I had witnessed many people violating these rules. Not that I saw it for the first time. Of course I know there are lots of Indians who don’t even bother to read the rules and think animals have no rights at all. Then there are those who know the rules but don’t care about them. These are the few accidents that have happened over the years due to such inhuman visitors :-

# Few years ago, a hippopotamus had died after swallowing a shoe thrown at him at the Alipore Zoo.

# On an inspection of the Byculla Zoo by the Plant & Animals Welfare Society, the society found that visitors were openly feeding the ducks, monkeys & even crocodiles and were banging the glass cases of the snake enclosures & literally teasing snakes. For the full report click here

# Late in the 1990s, a tiger, Shiva, mauled a drunken visitor who crossed the ditch separating the enclosure from the deck and tried to garland the tiger. The tiger, at first frightened, struck the young man with a blow at which he fell unconscious. Shiva then bit the man who later died in hospital.

# At the Alipore Zoo in Calcutta some years ago, three endangered giant Al Debra tortoises were killed after visitors repeatedly pelted them with stones to see if they were alive. The stones cut through the shells, leaving open wounds that turned septic and finally lead to death.

# Recently a chimpanzee at the Alipore Zoo hurled a stone on the visitors after being irritated by them and injured a woman.

One must understand that a zoo is not a natural habitat for the animals. And Indian zoos are in much more pitiable conditions than their foreign counterparts. Vijay Jung Thapa rightly says in his article on Indian zoos that

The cardinal principle of any modern zoo is to serve the needs of the creatures it exhibits. But zoos in India do just the opposite; they serve the needs of the visitors. The Indian zoos suffer from congenital problems that they’ve found hard to shake off. They are run by unqualified and ignorant staff. They run on tight budgets, leading to food-shortage for animals. They are poorly designed, with no understanding of animal behaviour.

Insensitive visitors just add to the misery of the animals. Among all these existing deplorable conditions, the least we require is our future generation to grow up to be so heartless and uncaring for the mute living beings. One may argue that its just an advertisement but I tell you kids observe, learn,remember and mimic a lot more things than we adults realize. The admakers need to scrutinize their commercials carefully and prevent delivering any such wrong message to the the children and in fact the adults too. I don’t want kids to think that they can entice a deer or a monkey or a bear to be their pet by feeding them Alpenliebe.


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29 thoughts on “Alpenliebe and Cruelty To Zoo Animals

  1. Sensitivity to animals is missing in India. I wonder why when Indians do like to keep pets. They really pamper their pets, but when the same people meet a strange animal they behave in bizarre ways! And I am sure that very few people even realised that the crocodile ad was wrong! As you said feeding animals is something that people just love doing, I am not sure why! Even while traveling if people see monkeys on the road, they want to stop and feed them! And as for reading signs and obeying rules, well that we know very few people do!
    Thanks for the link. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reema: Very true!! Their love for animals is restricted only to their pets. U r welcome!

  2. You go to places like Corbett and you see how all the tigers are lying here and there. We people don’t respect anything actually, rules, systems etc.

    Tigers = Wrappers of Tiger Biscuits. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reema: LOL ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Hi Reema

    1. I agree with your point related to cruelty to animals or the widespread apathy in our culture. Tough problem to tackle.

    2. I think the Alpenliebe does not end up promoting any act of feeding animals. The alligator is an animated executional element and the exaggeration makes that obvious.

    3. ‘Ads featuring kids’ is a different phenomenon compared to ‘advertisement meant for kids’ – the first is not an issue, the second one is one since it doesn’t follow a basic assumption of advertising that the consumer is making an informed, rational choice.

    Reema: I think kids don’t know the technicalities of ads and they imbibe what they see. We can’t expect them to know its an exaggeration and that nobody should feed animals in zoo. My point is feeding zoo animals must not be shown at all. There must be better ways for an ad for a toffee!

  4. You are right. Once in Delhi Zoo I saw this monkey in a cage where there was no shade anywhere, and it was in the month of June. No water, no shade nothing, just a cage half mud floor , half concrete floor. And just one lovely, thirsty monkey in that cage.
    Then we went around looking for someone to give him shade and water, finally they put khas-khas shade over all the cages to partly cover them …

    I still wonder what would have happened if we had not noticed this, Delhi heat in summer can kill in one afternoon.
    I realised I just HATE the concept of zoos, animals or any living creatures should not be used as EXHIBITS. Only those animals needing shelter should be provided shelter, but the shelter should be as close to their natural habitat as possible. It breaks my heart to see huge and energetic tigers in small enclosures. And then insensitive – not necessarily cruel visitors entertaining themselves at the expense of these animals.

    Menaka Gandhi for all the bad publicity she has got did a lot to help improve their lot in the Delhi Zoo.

    It’s good to see some of us noticing and reacting to this.

    Reema: I m glad there are people like you who truly care for animals. Vijay Thapa has written about Indian zoos in details and the article is worth a read. I too appreciate Maneka’s work.

  5. Saw the video. I think it is wrong to show that it is okay to feed animals in a zoo.
    And it can definitely make children and even adults think it’s fine too. Irresponsible advertising is this.

    Reema: Exactly!! We cant expect little kids to understand its just an exaggeration!

  6. Completely agree with you that we need to show more respect towards animals/birds alike!!

    The ad doesnt promote feeding alpenliebe to a croc, but what if a child looks at a croc and recollects the ad and throws a candy or something that does more harm than good to the poor croc??? what then!!! that is when media will jump in and start their booing of the ad zone!!! strange world we live in!!!

    Reema: That is my point!! Kids do the strangest things and when you ask them they say “we saw someone doing on tv”!

  7. Nice post, Reema, but you missed THE point. All this happens because the State runs the zoos here, not private individuals. Change things around, and privatise all the zoos, and see who is cruel and who is kind!

    Reema: Thanks!! Well that wasn’t my point in first place ๐Ÿ™‚ My point is don’t show its ok to feed zoo animals in commercials.

  8. Hmmm. very valid points & post. But what I feel is that despite all the awareness around it is people who should realise their responsibility. I don’t understand how can people be so insensitive.

    PS I had always enjoyed the ad but never seen it from this angle ๐Ÿ™‚ we only see what we want to & never try to go deeper…:-(

    Reema: Thanks!! I tend to analyze each and everything I guess ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. we indians are not meant for following rules unless and until we are frightened .. Nobody used to werar helments in A’bad even though it was compulsory but when goverment of Gjarat started taking fines, everybody started wearing it .. Same with the seat-belt .. Same can be applied in Zoos too .. Keep some security gurads there amd some fine and everything will be on tracks ..

    Reema: Yes but more security means more funds. Animals are not being kept in good conditions due to lack of funds. Then how can we expect extra security?

  10. I completely agree that Indians have a tendency to have pets, take care of them( mostly) and then act as if an animal on the road is worth not even a zillionth of the affection that you shower your pet.

    I recently visited the Mysore Zoo and I was appalled to see that men aged 30 over were making growls at a Tiger and chattering with monkeys. That tiger was clearly very irritated and pacing about his cage.

    Reema: True! I too have seen adults behave in a manner as if the monkeys are on the other side of the cage.

  11. Reema, Useful and important write up. I take my little one to Safari here and its so much fun when everyone follows rule and you can see animals close walking without fear. We even have Ostriches coming and knocking on window sill. Zoo is also well maintained but one place I don’t take my daughter is Circus.

    I am against the fun you get after beating up animals. Animals also are fed less.

    Reema: Thanks!! I m sure people follow rules better abroad than in India. Do circuses over there still have animals? Here animals are almost gone from circuses.

  12. I agree with Nita, I have seen people being cruel to animals that they see on the road/out in their own habitats.

    Feeding animals at zoos is a bad thing and teasing them is worse.

    Reema: More the reason not to show such stuff on tv.

  13. ITs pathetic that animals are not considered ;like a living being..
    2 months back there was a video in which villagers were beating a leopard and ultimately it died ..

    These are basic sense and should come from within
    ..unfortunately people vf our country dont have it

    Reema: Maybe cuz we don’t have a god of animals!

  14. I hate the concept of zoos itself. The caging , the unnatural surroundings. Though all zoos must not be condemned. There are quite a few good ones where the animals are tended to.

    I used to think the same thing when I see the ad for that candy. When we have kids flushing the fishes saying they would end up in the sea after seeing Finding Nemo or jumping off buildings after Shaktiman – what makes one think they will not feed animals with whatever in the zoo?!

    True about how kids end up asking for everything advertised for !!

    Reema: Glad to have your opinion as you are a mother and you would know the effects on advertisements on kids better than me. What u said is my point! As for zoos, Indians really need to develop a civic sense!

  15. Totally agree, I hate that commercial and would immediately explain to my son why it’s wrong (when he’s older and can understand).

    This is the hypocrisy in desis….my in laws comment so much on how in America everyone eats all sorts of meat and therefore are cruel. But they don’t notice how americans love their pets, how well treated animals are in zoos / wildlife parks. The rules are enforced well here. However, in India you see animal cruelty in all forms, whether in a zoo as you mentioned or with folks kicking the myriads of street dogs and lighting their tails on fire with firecrackers. Yet they don’t eat them so they think they are kinder.

    I’m going to have to do a post on this as well…thanks for the inspiration!

    Reema: Welcome to my blog. Compassion towards other living beings is lacking in India even if we claim to worship the cow. I am glad to have inspired you ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep visiting!

  16. Ah, such things!!! What do I say? They bother you? Animals die (shoe case) cuz of our reckless behavior. A Crime I say but what Ads got to do with that. I do not hold Ads responsible for any bad education, be it Kajol feeding toffees or any other thing. I say that cuz u linked them unintentionally. Ads are fine in their place.

    Reema: Yes I am bothered by the bad influence of media on young minds. Well I must say u have not read news of kids trying to do same stunts shown in cold drinks and many more examples. Then I suppose u may as well say that media doesn’t affect child behavior. Which is wrong as any form of media has both good and bad influence on kids and adults. U may read this

  17. I thought it was an harmless ad with one of my all time fav heroine !!!

    But I share my opinions with Oxy. I dont think ads are responsible for any bad education. If thats the situation, most of the ads that are made in India (cant comment abt the west, cuz I’ve hardly seen them) pro mote some kind of negativity if one would really think deep into it.

    All the bike and car ads which promote rash and reckless riding/driving; the detergent/soap ads that shows kids and grownups playing in dirt and one of them also goes to the extent of saying dirt is would this encourage kids to play in the dirt and mud all the time before they reach home and of course even if they do, will the mothers welcome them with open arms and smiling just like how its in the ad. Then there was another from virgin mobiles where a couple of guys do weird stuffs to get incoming calls on their phone; well if u really go deep, thats bad too. The toothpaste ads promote the consumption of ice creams, chocolates, when we all know that NO toothpaste on earth can stop your tooth from decaying if the consumption is increased as shown in the ad.

    In my POV, kids arent encouraged by all these visuals, and they get the curiosity to do such things only when the adults keep telling them not to perform whatever seen on screen. There are more negativities and violence shown in POGO and Cartoon Network through cartoons these days. and yeah, also through the movie these days.

    Reema: So maybe we need to evaluate our advertising methods and have more stringent standards?? If 70% of ads convey wrong message doesnt mean our advertising is correct and our analyzing it critically is wrong? U mean to say kids do thing when they are told not to do so? Do u feel restriction provokes them? If we don’t advise them and let them be free to judge on their own, they being so wise will know automatically whats wrong and right? What I fail to understand is what is wrong with deep thinking and analysis? Does an ad or any form of media has to out and out offensive for us to realize its wrong?
    The fact that some believe that kids aren’t encouraged by visuals is what I find shocking. U should read this

  18. well, it also show the croc riding on top of a car, carrying a bag and sleeping with kajol! (maybe its ajay devgun in disguse)… I think the kids would be smart enuf to know none of that is going to happen.

    In fact, I see reverse psychology at work here – the crocs would be saved from being fed alpenliebe as no one would want them as pets.

    I agree with your point about being responsible and sensitive to animals in zoo. How about a ban on taking food inside the zoo?

    the ad is fine though.

    Reema: Ahh..if only the kids were that smart and teens smarter then we wouldnt have so many problems in world regarding the effect of advertisements. Do read the links I have given above in my replies to others. Somehow I notice the guys fail to see my point and the ladies agree with me.

  19. My trip to melghat was an eye opener to the sensitiveness and the knowledge that we think we have about their habitat and living surroundings. Be it animals in the zoo or any such animal on the street, we sure are not creating any future for our generations to come. I have to agree the ads to mis-lead at times. In their zealousness to market, they sometimes tend to forget that they have a responsibility as well.

    Reema: I think everyone should go on such a trip once to realise how cruel we are being to the animals.

  20. I could never understand why people have to feed animals in the zoo. Don’t they know that the animals are fed on a regular basis and they won’t die of hunger?

    Reema: Yes! that’s what people need to know!

  21. Well written post. I’ve seen the Kajol ad before and never thought it could make an impression on kids. I see it in a different light now. A lot rests in the hands of parents as they watch their kids grow up…

    The please be safe poster is too good ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reema: Thanks!! Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious to know whats wrong.

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