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The Untold Slaughter Story: In Death as in Life … And Everything in Between

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Meenakshi Gaur:

Human discretion seems to be at its minimalistic behavior, no better than a savage brute, when it comes to human interaction with animals. The overwhelming variety of animal torture brings to surface the elements of sadistic pleasure embedded deep in human nature. “Cruelty to dumb animals is one of the distinguishing vices of low and base minds…” said William Jones, (English Philologist and Jurist).

It is an interesting and puzzling sight to see how people behave at a zoo. I witnessed some of the vices of base minds on my recent visit to the Delhi Zoo. The animal abuse need not be physical, it can be verbal too. The blessed power of human speech can threaten, confuse and stress out even the wild animals confined within the dingy and filthy zoo cages. Continuous confinement of animals along with inadequate diet given to these animals, exposure to stress due noisy and naughty children and brutal treatment given by the so-called care-takers are physically and psychologically harmful to them. The wild Himalayan Bear looked like an itchy and tattered black blanket lying on the floor laden with stinking excreta while the White Tiger was pacing to and fro in his cage either due to utter boredom or fed up with being the star attraction of the unbearable overcrowded torture called “Educational trips”.

God did not create animals for laboratory testing. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is an excellent hospital and a premier research institute yet it disregarded rules in its treatment of animals kept for testing. A few years back, out of 68 monkeys, 90 rabbits, several sheep and ever-multiplying guinea pigs and rats – most were believed to be sick and dying in small cages at AIIMS’s Central Animal Facility. AIIMS’s famous for its Trauma center, literally turned its premises into a torture zone for 50 of the 90 rabbits that were suffering from an infectious skin disease, and several others including a few guinea pigs have gone blind. Years of captivity and lack of fresh air caused the mental trauma to the monkeys and rats; some of which have gone over the edge: they spend their day going around in circles in their cages in a state called “nervous breakdown”. The present contains no hope for such animals and past reminds only of the hideous never ending torturous days.

Little do we feel and understand the brutalities meted out to the innocent animals in India, facing the incessant wiping and various forms of tortures in the name of Circus performances. Behind the glitter and the glitz of a circus lies a cruel world of untold animal suffering. Animals used in circuses are unwilling participants who many a times get injured while performing: Tigers, who naturally fear fire are forced to jump through flaming hoops. This jeopardizes their health and mental well-being. The circus training forces them to act contrary to their natural behavior. Training animals to perform acts is sometimes painful as it requires whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods and other tools. Elephants are trained through the use of an ankus–a wooden stick with a sharp, pointed hook at the end to discourage undesired behavior. The ankus is embedded into elephants’ most sensitive areas, such as around the feet, behind the ears, under the chin, inside the mouth, and other locations around the face. Animals in circuses have to face atrocities of travelling to different places in trucks or by train. They are kept in much smaller cages then required, having barely enough room to turn around. They are forced to eat, sleep, and defecate in the same trailers, where they can be kept for stretches of more than 24 hours sometimes. Some circuses go to warmer states in the summer, even though the animals may suffer in extreme temperatures. The same unfortunate situation occurs in the winter in colder areas. Extreme temperature, travelling and training are continuous tortures which the wild animals have to face in the name of human entertainment.

Cockfighting or “Nawabi” is game of fowl or cock fighting. It is a favorite time pass sport for the people living in the regions of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. Three or four-inch blades are attached to the cocks’ legs. Knockout fights to the death are widely practiced in Andhra Pradesh. People watch it with intense interest surrounding the cocks. The sport has gradually become a gambling sport. The high stakes involves bets between Rs 50 and Rs 3000. Special care is taken by the owner of cocks to make them a winning breed. The cocks are fed on a varied diet, including almonds and desi ghee. The fighter cocks are massaged and their beaks are sharpened on the eve of the event. This ensures that if the cock wins the fight, the owner of the winning cock stands to gain an astronomical price and he sells the winning cock immediately on the spot. Animal welfare organizations are clearly helpless in stopping the torture on the innocent birds.

Puppy mills are the places where hundreds of thousands of puppies are raised each year in

commercial kennels to ensure lives of misery for these loving beings. Puppy mills are distinguished by their inhumane conditions and the constant breeding of unhealthy and genetically defective dogs solely for profit. Very often the dogs in puppy mills are covered with matted, filthy hair, their teeth are rotting and their eyes have ulcers. Many dogs’ jaws have rotted because of tooth decay. The dogs are kept in small wire cages for their entire lives. They are almost never allowed out. They never touch solid ground or grass to run and play. Many of the dogs are injured in fights that occur in the cramped cages from which there is no escape. Female dogs are usually bred the first time they come into heat and are bred every heat cycle. They are bred until their poor worn out bodies cannot reproduce any longer and then they are killed. Often they are killed by being bashed in the head with a rock or shot. Sometimes they are sold to laboratories or dumped. Puppy mills maximize their profits by not spending adequate money on proper food, housing or veterinary care. Puppies are often taken from their mother when they are 5 to 8 weeks old and sold to brokers who pack them in crates for resale to pet stores all over the country. Such are the numbing conditions under which the dogs are bread in India.

The cruel industry that kills millions of animals in a violent and inhumane way every year through horrendous Factory Farming and Fur Farming should be boycotted. Animals are routinely being scalded, skinned and dismembered while still alive and conscious, just to make them taste better or make their fur look more alluring. This nerve chilling daily basis practice across the country is supported by the restaurants and retail stores that sell chicken, beef and fur produced in such inhuman factory conditions. Slaughter houses evoke sheer terror and pain. Animals are kept in the large slaughter house confinement for many days, hungry and thirsty. Then their legs are broken and eyes poked, so that a certificate can be obtained about their uselessness. The hunger and thirst of many days causes the hemoglobin to move from blood in to fat. The meat with higher hemoglobin fetches better prices. Then these animals are pushed into washing showers. Extremely hot water of around 200 degrees is sprayed on them for a few minutes, to soften their skins, as it becomes easier to remove it. The animals faint at this point, but they are not dead yet. Half-conscious animals are hung upside down on one leg, on a chain-pulley conveyor. Then half of the neck is slit. This drains the blood, but does not kill the animal. As after death, the skin of the dead animal swells thick, this sells for a poor price. Thus animals are kept alive because the skin of a live animal is still thin, which has better economic value. On one side the blood is dripping from the neck, and on the other side a hole is made in stomach, from which air is pumped inside. This causes the body to swell, making it easier to peel the skin. After removing the leather, the animal is cut into four pieces: head, legs, body, and tail. The machines remove bones, and pack small pieces of meat into cans. These cans are shipped to the retail stores near you.

Next time if you wish to be entertained, educated by an animal or wish to enjoy the taste of fresh soft meat do not forgot to thank the Lord that you are born as a human being who perhaps can torture the innocent animals without imagining the extent of  their pain and agony for their selfish pleasures.


You must be to comment.
  1. Shruthi Venukumar

    The sheer graphic detailing is sure to chill the blood of the possessors of the hardest of hearts. The next time they think of sinking a fork into that exotic dish or cheer voiceless animals pitted against each other in a bloodfest, hesitation would be natural …

  2. anon

    survival of the fittest. that’s nature’s way. humans are the fittest. thus we survice. and go preach your animal welfare to carnivores like tigers and lions.

  3. misha

    This is an eye opening article. Very well written but sadly on a gruesome topic. I completely with the authors view but i would like to tell Anon.. the fellow… to get the spelling of SURVIVE right and then talk about survival of the fittest…and I would like to add if left alone in jungle humans are least equipped to survive on their own…

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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