A tweet claims that Dr Manilal Valliyate, Chairman of PETA India wore a leather watch and shoes. The Twitter post by Siddharth Bakaria, member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and digital entrepreneur (according to his Twitter profile description) aims to show Dr Valliyate’s hypocrisy of wearing leather accessories and protecting animals.
The above tweet has been widely shared on Twitter as it garnered 8.3K likes and 3.1K retweets at the time of writing this fact check. You can read similar claims made by other users below:
Fact Check/ Verification
We began our research with a Google reverse image search of the photograph in the claim. This led us to a February 2012 article on animalrahat.com. This article detailed an official name change of the Animal Rahat Sanctuary to Simone’s Place in honour of PETA’s most dedicated longtime volunteers, Simone Reyes.
The above article included Dr Manilal Villayate’s photograph as seen in the claim.
Another article from February 2012 on animalrahat.com included Dr Valliyate’s photo from the claim.
Without any credible news report to support the claim in context, we directly reached out to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India office via email. We received a response from Dr Valliyate himself who dismissed the contents of the claim which suggest he wore leather accessories. You can read his response to us below:
“This bullying trend of finding personal photos of PETA India staff, and pointing out shoes or other items supposedly made of leather, was started by those who support jallikattu—a bloodsport in which bulls are tortured to injury or death. Now, it has been picked up by other opponents of our work for trolling, and shared on social media. Most people these days know, however, that you can have a look that kills without killing animals! Vegan (non-animal) leather shoes, watch straps, wallets and more are available just about anywhere you shop, and PETA India provides a handy list of brands that use the PETA Approved Vegan logo for easy ethical shopping: www.petaindia.com/living/fashion/introducing-our-peta-approved-vegan-logo-for-easy-shopping/. PETA India staff live a vegan lifestyle, one in which no animal derived products are used, and we advocate vegan living every day. This is a case of trying to discredit PETA India’s messages of kindness by those who want to justify and continue harming animals in some form.”
With Dr Valliyate’s response dismissing the allegation and no other credible evidence to support the claim in context, we can say that Bakaria’s claim is false and misleading.
Primary source: Dr. Manilal Valliyate
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