A green body has urged tennis star Sania Mirza to disassociate herself from a "misleading" advertorial by an organisation representing the poultry industry. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has written a letter to Mirza regarding her association with an advertorial issued by the All India Poultry Development and Services Private Limited (AIPDSPL) on February 27.
The letter apprises Mirza about the malpractice of misuse of antibiotics in the poultry sector and how it could be contributing to the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance in the country. It also informed her about the "libellous" nature of the advertorial and how the CSE's results were misrepresented to support the misleading claim that the antibiotics were not indiscriminately used in poultry farms.
"You are an icon for the youth of India. Millions of young women and men aspire to emulate your success. They are influenced by your actions and messages. Having said this, we are deeply disappointed that you have associated yourself with a blatantly false and misleading advertorial," the letter sent to her by Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, the CSE said.
"We have informed her that the CSE's study of 2014, which had found that the banned, critical and highly prescribed antibiotics are being misused by the poultry industry, is misrepresented and the CSE's study of 2017, which drove home the point that antibiotic misuse is turning poultry farms into breeding grounds of super-bugs has been conveniently ignored,' Bhushan said.
The letter also informed Mirza that how on one hand countries across the world are addressing the public health crisis of antibiotic resistance, and on the other, the Indian poultry sector continues to use last-resort antibiotics like Colistin. "The advertorial is aimed at benefiting the advertising association and the poultry industry by misguiding the people of this country. The advertorial is a clear indication that the poultry companies, represented by the AIPDSPL, are not serious to tackle the problem of the antibiotic misuse.
"Instead, it is denying the problem and hindering serious action towards this public health crisis of antibiotic resistance," said the letter. Emphasising on the impact of an endorsement by a known celebrity like her, the CSE has urged her to publically disassociate herself from this advertorial of the AIPDSPL. "As a celebrity, what she endorses has a huge impact on the choices that people make.
"We have mentioned about the need to exercise greater caution and be more sensitised and responsible towards products, claims and ideas that she choose to endorse, specifically if they have public health significance. We have urged her to publicly disassociate herself from this advertorial,' Bhushan said.
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