A typical day for an animal in India
Sunday August 7th, 2016 – Reports from across the country.
Crawford Market, Mumbai
Crawford Market is notorious for it’s illegal pet trade. In a cage in a shop are trapped 10-15 puppies, waiting to be sold. The puppies are barely a month old, miserable and missing their parents from whom they have been cruelly snatched away. There are laws in place regulating the sale of pets based on their age and breed, but these laws are not enforced. Police do not take offences related to animals seriously and are not aware of proper procedures, if indeed there are any laid down.
After the police leave, instead of being rescued, the puppies are left in the shop exactly where there were found and are later replaced during the night by the seller with older puppies who do meet the regulatory requirements.
In the meantime, “local” dogs who are not as high in demand as pets continue to live on Indian streets, homeless and hungry, frantically searching for scraps of food. Some are run over, others are wounded and left untreated, and all of them are helpless and dependent on humans for mercy and love that usually never comes.
As we can see, there are laws that are supposed protect animals. However, animals are considered to be things or economic resources for humans. Why else would they be sold in the first place? For this reason, the answer is not more stringent legislation but a change in the way we treat animals as property and resources. We must stop breeding animals for our use as pets. They do not belong in our world. Unfortunately, because of domestication, they do not belong in the wild either. Domestication is selfish and wrong, and it must end!
Somewhere along the highways of Punjab, India
Gau Rakshaks, or cow protectors, stop trucks that are carrying illegal shipments of cows. A significant amount of money changes hands and the truck continues on without a single cow being rescued. But wait, aren’t cows holy? Is that not why gaushalas (cow sanctuaries) in India are set up? So why are so many cows dying at these shelters? What does being holy even mean in the animal context?
Meanwhile the Dalits or the untouchables decide to stop disposing of cattle carcasses out of fear of being lynched and murdered by mobs in the name of cow protection.
It must be good to be on an endangered species list. Why? Because that would mean you would be protected, right? Not so; 25 black bucks are found dead, and it is suspected that farmers illegally growing maize on protected grazing land have murdered them.
Does legislation ever protect animals over economic interests? Evidently not.
Kaziranga National Park
Floodwaters have submerged 80% of the park. The rhinos try and escape the floodwaters only to be shot by poachers who are eagerly awaiting their arrival. They are shot and killed for their horns. These horns fetch a handsome price in countries like China where they are used for medicinal purposes.
Here, I’m writing specifically about animals in India. However, the problem is one that exists all over the world. In all the cases we talked about, there were rules in place that should have protected these animals. In each of these cases they did not do so. What could better demonstrate the utter failure of welfare legislation and the need for us to shift the paradigm from humane treatment to the end of all animal use? Animals do not belong to humans. They are not resources for us to use, they are not companion animals for when we are lonely, and they are not sources of entertainment for us in zoos, rodeos or in dog fights.
They are sentient beings with the desire to live their lives free from human interference or abuse. And as abolitionists, we can help others see this. In fact, we are obligated to do so by our advocacy efforts and by the example our lives of peace and non-violence set for others.
The logic is irrefutable and clear. All we have to do is look within ourselves, acknowledge the truth and reset our moral compasses so that we can do justice by the animals. Don’t you think it’s finally time to do so?