When there is an animal in trouble, Bhatt jumps in to help. She supported PETA India’s campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages in Mumbai; supported a call for the release of a captive elephant named Malti who was mercilessly beaten near Jaipur; and informed people on social media how easily manja can injure and kill birds.
Pooja also practises what she preaches by keeping meat off her plate, adopting animal companions from the street – and treating them as members of the family – and even helping to sterilise cats in her neighbourhood so that others won’t be born to face being crushed by cars.
“Animals have an unflagging defender in Pooja Bhatt,” says PETA India Director of Celebrity and Public Relations Sachin Bangera. “PETA India is recognising her for speaking up against cruelty to elephants used for rides, horses strapped to carriages, birds lacerated by manja, and other animal abuse.”
Pooja received a trophy and a letter of appreciation.
To receive this #HerotoAnimals award on the eve of #InternationalAnimalsrightsday from @PetaIndia leaves me staggered. I can’t imagine my life without the love,compassion & wisdom I have garnered from animals since I was a child. Hence this means the WORLD to me! Gratitude 🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/9A79GKKlwo— Pooja Bhatt (@PoojaB1972) December 9, 2021
Previous recipients of PETA India’s Hero to Animals Award include Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, for allocating funds for feeding community animals during the lockdown; Delhi Minister of Food and Civil Supplies, Environment & Forests and Elections Imran Hussain, for protecting the lives of humans and animals by banning all forms of manja; singer Zubeen Garg for calling for an end to an animal sacrifice in Assam; Gaurav Gera and Rohit Gujjar, for rescuing a trapped baby parakeet; Shilpa Shetty, for speaking out against circus cruelty and taking other actions for animals; Zareen Khan, for rescuing a cat from the streets; Cyrus Broacha, for refusing to perform a stunt that involved riding a bull; Rani Mukerji, for helping a dog in distress on her film set; Asin, for saving a dog who was hit by a car; Imran Khan, for stopping a dog trainer who was smacking a dog on a film set; Sadaa Sayed, for helping a puppy who had just avoided being hit by a car during a rainstorm; and Dia Mirza’s production house, Born Free Entertainment, for showing that homeless cats and dogs make wonderful additions to families.