“It Was Just A Dog That Died”: Don’t Animal Lives Matter To Us?

Posted on July 12, 2016 in Environment

By Amit Ranat:

Our great national leader once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” In our country, India, few animals are treated in a safe manner. And no one cares to fight for animals rights excepting a handful of NGOs and real animal lovers who devote their lives to animals. Last year, we saw the Environment Minister give legal rights to kill Nilgai in Bihar to save crops. Though other methods can be used to save crops, but it now justifies the killing Nilgai. Nilgai meat can’t be used for export and making money probably due to which there are little efforts to save it. On the other hand, illegal killings will take place on a large scale due to this new rule. Is it a sign of a great nation that animal cruelty takes place on a large scale?

We saw just a year back that scores of street dogs were killed in Kerala. This created an uproar among animal lovers and on social media, thousands of animal lovers boycotted Kerala for their holidays unless this was stopped. After huge efforts by die-hard animal lovers and NGOs working for animals rights, the Supreme Court ordered Kerala not to kill any street dogs and instead carry out sterilisation drives for better results. But what about the scores of street dogs and puppies which were killed ruthlessly? India can never be a great nation if we have few animal lovers and cruelty towards animals continues.

I remember reading newspaper reports a month back about a forest department employee in Assam named Mohit Chandra Talukdar who was arrested in Dhemaji district and was caught red handed with 66 lakhs in cash along with ivory and tiger skin. What can we say if the saviour of animals becomes the killer? In parts of India, elephants are killed for their tusks. Cruelty against elephants continues in the name of religion in some regions in Kerala even today.

A couple of weeks back, near my residence a cab driver hit a two-month-old puppy, who I would feed and play with daily, due to his careless driving in the society compound even though there were nearly five to six speed breakers. According to the cab driver, he was at the speed of 20 km/hour. Now, I wonder how the pup could have died if he was driving so slowly. When I argued with him, his answer was, “Why we are creating such a big issue out of this, it was just a dog that died?” His attitude showed that, for him, it was like hitting a non-living thing. No value was attached to the life of the little puppy by him.

We tried complaining to customer care office of that cab service, but the answer we got was shocking. “You can do whatever you want to in this case.” This shows that they have no fear. Only we were sad about the death of the playful little dog. And though we had several eyewitnesses, we were unable to take any steps. It is because we felt it wouldn’t be hard for the driver to prove that it was an accident. Besides, our country has no strict laws for the culprit. The fine for cruelty towards animals is just Rs. 50 and laws have barely changed since 1960. Due to these reasons, animal lovers and people fighting for animal rights have an uphill task on their hands.

Recently, a video on social media went viral where a little pup was thrown down from a terrace by two Chennai medical students. Within a couple of hours, animal lovers all over with the help of social media were successful in identifying those two culprits and even the police in Chennai came forward with their support. But the question is this: how dare two medical students throw a living puppy barely five months old from a terrace? Did they not fear any consequences? While they were arrested within two days of the incident, they were out on bail within hours. There are no strict laws for animal safety. Animal lovers are fighting hard for justice for this little puppy even today. It must be noted that thanks to the efforts of animal lovers in Chennai, this little dog was found and treated. Thank God, this puppy did not die.

The Indian Prime Minister appears to be doing well on several fronts but, sadly, his government seems to be failing in saving our animals and implementing strict laws against cruelty towards animals.

Featured image credit: Gireesh Gv/The India Today Group/Getty Images.

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