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‘We Don’t Want Kerala’s Beauty Marred By Canine Genocide’: Why I Boycott Kerala Tourism

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By Atrei Chatterjee

In 2009, the Supreme Court of India ordered an immediate stop on the killings of stray dogs on the grounds of nuisance. They said nuisance can’t be defined, and the root causes of dog aggression should be addressed instead of snuffing out an innocent life. On the 13th of July 2015 the government of Kerala decided in an all-party meet to go against the ruling of the Supreme Court and selectively kill rabid and nuisance dogs. Animal welfare workers and activists from all over the country took a strong stand against this decision. We networked online, got together and started planning pressure campaigns against this decision. It was from here that the Boycott Kerala Tourism movement was born.

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Personally, it was unfathomable that a government could take such a decision. I’ve grown up with stray dogs around all my life, and I couldn’t imagine them not being there. Dogs are simple creatures. Their behaviour is entirely based on cause and effect. So I joined the movement, because no innocent creature deserves to die because humans don’t know how to behave. Too long we’ve behaved like self-entitled pricks about the environment. It’s time we all took a stand. The online campaign started almost immediately after the decision was taken, and the spammers attacked us just around the same time.

I hadn’t been inundated with so much spam in my life. We were bombarded by fake profiles copy-pasting the same comment hundreds of times. There were pictures of cancer patients posted saying they were dog bites. The front man for the mass hysteria in Kerala, started a massive anti-campaign against us. I guess he got uncomfortable that we started asking questions about the legality of the movement and where the funds meant for ABC (Animal Birth Control) programs went. I would like to point out that when I say hysteria, I meant unjustified hysteria. The statistics used by the Kerala Government misrepresented all animal bites as dog bites. The meeting where they announced the reasons for this was also rigged. People were paid to come and share their stories of dog bites, conveniently leaving out that the bites they received were from pet dogs. Their own corporation veterinarians came out saying that the ABC programs were never implemented properly, that they had neither manpower nor resources to implement them. Ernakulum General Hospital gave out statistics to TOI that stated that over 75% of dog bites were from pet dogs. Their hospitals ran out of rabies vaccines – so kill all strays because the government can’t do more frequent inventory checks? Reality was against them, but pure economic power was against us. And that is what we set out to dismantle.

I’ve had arguments thrown at me as “logical” “proof” of our insincerity. The most stupid question I’ve come across about why we aren’t protesting against other atrocities in other places. Why don’t we protest rape in Delhi? Why don’t we protest against Sonagachi in Bengal? Why don’t we protest against Yulin? Why don’t we do this or that or the other? It seems ridiculous to me that this issue would even be brought up! No one asks the Red Cross why they aren’t protesting against high taxation rates. No one asks WHO why they haven’t raised their voice against a certain political agenda. No one questions why the liver doesn’t do the work of the kidney. It’s ridiculous! The most recent claim has been that the rabies vaccine companies are paying us to protest. If they are, I’d like to see some of that cash because I’ve been broke for a long time. This movement has been called fake because I asked people to leash and keep their pets under control during the Kolkata march. If anyone is listening, it was because large crowds would scare dogs that are not used to it. The dog is then likely to run away, not bite. Home dogs are used to a quiet, non-crowded environment, while strays are used to the hustle and bustle of the road. Spammers posted misinformation saying our protests were called off, posed as pro-movement activists and said the protests didn’t happen, trying to break our momentum. We must have got them scared.

People have been appealing to our love for fellow humans and have been threatening to revenge kill dogs and torture people from Bengal because we raised our voice against the dog cullings. Seems a little ironic that those two points are said in the same sentence. This movement was against a governmental decision, and not against the people of a state. Tempers get out of hand online, and both sides have made unfortunate statements. Go ahead and visit any of the protest pages, you’ll see over 300 comments on each post, mostly by spammers. They started a copycat campaign called Boycott North India, and two mock campaigns called Adopt A Rabid Dog From Kerala and Boycott Kerala for killing mosquitoes. Activists from Kerala reported revenge killings and the most barbaric mass murder of dogs on the streets. Recently, their local news channels started reporting these incidents with video coverage. But again, we only have reality and humanity on our side. They have mass hysteria and money.

The demands of the movement are simple. We will refuse to interact or communicate with the governance of Kerala in all realms of interaction, be it social, cultural, economic, spatial or any other till all unconstitutional activities with regard to animal welfare in the state stop. It is an extremely peaceful form of protest. Contrary to the beliefs of certain “logical” Indians, this is not a hate campaign. We love Kerala. It’s a beautiful place with beautiful people. We simply don’t want that beauty to be marred by canine genocide. We want such inhumane activities to stop, and we want everyone involved in inciting the people to such hateful activities dealt with in the strictest ways possible, as provided in the constitution.

Currently, the mass hysteria whipped up by this person has wreaked untold damage. Organizations backed by him like Stray Dog Free Kerala have started offering monetary rewards for anyone who manages to capture a stray. This is the same man who offered to pay for cold storage units to export dog meat to dog meat eating countries. This is the same man who proposed to put all strays into dog pounds, locked away for their entire lives for the crime of being born. If you want proof, there are enough videos online that show canines being captured, persecuted, tortured and killed in the most brutal way possible. Thankfully, the protests and online campaigns have made a big impact. We’ve had reports from travel agents and people in the hotel management industry in Kerala say that bookings are being cancelled. If we want the government to listen, the only way to their ears seems to be the economy. We hit the Kerala beef market pretty hard, and managed to convince some local bodies to follow Supreme Court and AWBI guidelines. Dog cullings in Thrissur are also being probed into because of our agitation. So we’re gaining parts, but the curve is upwards and it feels good.

What the government of Kerala does not understand is that mass cullings will get them nowhere. Indian pariah dogs are extremely intelligent and adaptable. They will learn to avoid catchers and be mistrustful of humans. Territory fights will break out when dogs of one area are taken. This will lead to an increase in aggressive dogs who cannot be caught, because that is how evolution works. Subsequent attempts at ABC and vaccination programs will fail. The urban ecology will be kicked where it hurts, and feral animals will move in. By this decision, they are actively putting their citizens and their beautiful environment in grave danger. Planned Animal Birth Control programs are the only way the population of strays can be controlled in the long term. Root causes of aggression, like resource hoarding, must be eradicated. The citizens of India must learn to live in peace with their environment. Because if they don’t, Nature will bite back. And that is something you cannot vaccinate against.

About the author: Freelancer and animal welfare worker. She dedicates most of her time towards helping those who can’t help themselves.

You must be to comment.
  1. pranav thomas

    its not for the beauty, it is for the safety. decided only to kill rabid dogs

  2. Paul

    It’s easy to sit in an office and write up nonsense without understanding reality on ground. If you think you have all the answers, take me up on my suggestion and adopt a stray “rabid” dog. No? I thought so. So, STFU and let what’s best be done. I’m sick of all these double standards people brazenly display along with their infinite stupidity. There are cattle and poultry being killed in less scientific ways. It not only controls their population but also provides protein. Here we’re faced with a situation where the population has bludgeoned beyond controllable numbers and the best option is to cull them scientifically or let smart dicks like you, who pass judgement sitting comfortably without the threat of being attacked by a dog, adopt stray rabid dogs.

    If you don’t have anything sensible to add the predicament, then I’d ask you to learn a little or offer yourself to a vicious stray dog to know the pain.

  3. MajorBS

    Try riding a bike through one of the streets taken over by these dogs. School kids have been killed by dog bites. You think someone would kill a child and to lobby for dog killing. Probably your brain need to evolve

  4. Rahul

    These activists look for a 15 minute fame opposing each and every thing. Go to any developed country and you see only pet dogs every where. Dont see any turf wars there because of the absence of stray dogs. In India you see stray dogs roaming everywhere, cows blocking traffic, goats and other animals roaming around eating and shitting. We indians are so used to it that we say it is because of our compassion. To be honest we are as stray as all these animals roaming in our cities and biting people and eating garbage. Kudos to Kerala for taking this up and making streets free from this misery. Remember that Kerala is one of the most well maintained and hygenic place for a living already. This will go a long way to convince the other states to look out for doing something to their streets.

    As for the cause; yes – this is nothing when compared to the atrocious crimes that happen in north or the abuse that women suffer at Bengal(Seems like the protest is more from WB). When I lived there I was actually appalled at people living in buildings that were 100 years old, lawlessness and corruption that we see up in north. Dont you compare yourselves with Red Cross or WHO. They are in the forefront of giving medical aid to the people in the most dangerous, war torn places in the world putting their life at stake. I would have given you guys respect if you would have worked with the government to find a solution for the malace. But then you wont be having your moment of fame exploiting the dirt in out country.

    I sincerely hope that whatever Kerala is doing, my state takes a cue from and do something here

  5. ItsJustMe

    Yeah, School kids dying of dog bite was entirely because she was not compassionate to the dogs.
    Any animal which is a threat to human existence, within areas of human settlement needs to be eliminated.
    Examples – Rats, wasps, different pests including some birds, why the double standards when it comes to dogs.

    1. Dheeraj

      She was not compassionate to the dogs?? What do you mean? What an absurd thing to say..what compassion do you give to stray dogs? Do you go towards it and show love?provide food? And when u do, do the other dogs get jealous? LOL. I’ll tell you what you’d do…you’d just look at the dogs and say..”dayamn, this country is overrun by dogs..”..anybody can write up something in a blog bro..its the action that matters..Kerala govt has taken the action..what about you?

    2. ItsJustMe

      @Dheeraj we are on the same page my friend. The first line in my previous comment was sarcasm.
      @Atrei Chatterjee
      To add to that why are these people in Kolkata protesting about what’s happening in my state. Half of our construction workers are from West Bengal because they make 4 times the money here for the same work in Kerala. And WB have been a largely communist party run state. These activists have no time to go look in their own backyard and uplift their skilled labor and daily wage workers. They dont pay them a decent wage. They are more concerned about dogs in another state. If I call for a boycott west Bengal movement I know the reason will have more to do with how you treat human beings than animals. First show compassion to fellow human beings, then you can act like you are the moral authority when it comes to animals. Also many states have been killing off stray dogs despite the SC court ruling. Kerala government had to find a way around the law because of these attacks of people.

  6. Anoop

    Instead of barking like dogs, why don’t you come Kerala and adopt all stray dogs ? It is easy to write shits but difficult to practice it. If you do not want to visit Kerala, that is also no problem for us but we will continue killing stray dogs.

  7. Biju

    The author have clear agenda. Their eye is on the kerala’s growth in tourism. They donot know its nothing they can do in it. We prefer safety than money from tourism.

  8. Sarath

    Hi Atrei,
    I am writing an article on the same subject. I would like you to read it once it is done. Its titled “Do you boycott Kerala? Precisely zero fucks are given about that in this beautiful state”

    1. Sukumar

      i couldn’t agree better.. #boycott ? as in we gave a f….k?

  9. Sukumar

    I ready to pay out of my pocket to get these dogs off the street.. !!
    They are a menace and threat to life …
    Atrei Chatterjee – when a piece is laid on facts its called news, but i love fiction, until you wanna call it news.
    Get a life.!!!

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