Of late, I have been evading my news feed on online news portals because every day I come across the tale of a Bhadra, and her companions being gravely wronged by the inhumane side of ‘humanity’. Yes, I am talking about the alarming rise in incidents of animal cruelty against man’s best friend – dogs.
What happened with Bhadra caused a lot of outrage on social media. A harmless dog was brutally thrown off the terrace of a building in Bangalore, and the two perpetrators proudly filmed the heinous act and uploaded it on social media. The saddest part is that though they were arrested after a lot of pressure from the public, they were easily let-off on bail. The only legal action which our country’s legal system takes against perpetrators of animal cruelty is a mere penalty of ₹50.
Bhadra, as the dog was affectionately named by animal rights activists who came to her rescue is one of many such dogs who has been subjected to extreme acts of cruelty and violence by humans.
A man in Mumbai ran his car over a dog, to take ‘revenge’ on the creature for urinating on his car’s tyres. There have been cases of people killing innocent puppies by stoning them or setting off fireworks in their mouths, or tying them to trees and hitting them. I mean, what possible pleasure can someone derive out of hurting a four-legged creature who can’t even speak for itself? What could compel someone to commit such acts?
The nonchalant nature of our country’s judicial system on the issue of animal cruelty has created a situation where people are living under the impression that they can do anything they want without thinking of consequences.
When it takes ages for people to get justice for the gravest of crimes committed against them, what is the value of the life of a mere stray animal? As I stated above, only ₹50. The offender may be as barbaric as barbaric can get, they may kill the animal, but the person can get an easy bail and has to pay a small penalty of ₹50.
Due to many recent cases, animal lovers and animal rights organisations have tried raising awareness and demanding justice through social media platforms by creating online campaigns and starting petitions. But the only result was the Government suggesting that the penalty be increased from ₹50 to ₹100.
I mean, is that even a proper response? It only shows how ignorant the system and our mindsets are about the lives of animals. We can’t really blame the government, as we ourselves aren’t really able to see beyond our problems and lives. The result: such incidents happen, we read about them, probably like and share online, sign online petitions when there’s outrage temporarily, and that’s about it. It remains a virtual cause, and no proper action is taken.
The government may claim that there’s a street dog menace, but is violence the right way of eradicating the problem? No, it’s just the system’s way of shirking the responsibility of systematically tackling the street dog population.
We are supposed to exhibit maturity and emotion that distinguishes us from other species and use our power and ability to do greater good. And it doesn’t just mean a few activists who raise their voice; it means all of us. Because collective efforts alone can bring about change.
We may not go about on streets shouting protest slogans, or donate all our money to animal welfare, but we can be more determined to sensitise others about it and urge the government to make stringent laws regarding violence against animals. Desi adoption and sterilisation should be encouraged. We can also contribute by volunteering with animal welfare organisations and groups, and stop those around us trying to hurt our four legged friends? But first, why don’t we just start respecting and following the basic principle of ‘live and let live.’