Despite the hardships endured, the joy of giving birth to a new life stretches to all living beings. Animals too display an affective association with their unborn child, looking forward to its birth. But what happens when the awaited celebration for birth transits into an episode of human criminality that proves to be fatal? In the Indian state of Kerala, the recent killing of a pregnant elephant brought about by the consumption of a cracker filled pineapple, left around by forest men, is just the right case to ponder over this aspect. An act committed by them to protect their cultivated land from animal intrusion, is in no way justifiable on ethical and moral grounds.
The hideous tradition of animal abuse
Since antediluvian times, animals have been victims of human cruelty in one way or the other. Extensively employed for their muscle power, from assisting in pulling sleds of limestones for construction, to being used as weapons of war by not only serving as human carriers in battlefields like the horses and elephants, they were also used as strategic agents for directing the course of war itself. Back during the days of the Hannibal, sticks were tied to cattle horns , which were burned so that their fumes could cause misdirection of the enemy forces. Moving onto the Middle Ages, we witness the convenient hunting and killing of animals , since they were believed to cause pestilence and disease. Also popular during those times was the sport of animal baiting which involved securing an animal as a bear or horse on a stake and feeding it to a pack of trained dogs, for the generation of public amusement!
The Modern Era did not practically overhaul the tendency of man to inflict pain on animals. In South Asia alone, cases of animal abuse tragically abound in number. In People’s Republic of China despicable treatment of innocent animals is quite pervasive. Dogs and cats come to be boiled alive or ruthlessly beaten to death. Endangered species are ground into patent medicines prepared by charlatans. Furry animals are skinned , their fur is sold either at home or abroad. Dogs, however come to be the unparalleled victims of abuse. In the Annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival about 10,000 dogs are tortured to death. It is a belief widely held by the butchers that the usage of bolt pistols in place of exsanguination destroys the original flavor of dog meat and hence the dogs are subjected to as much suffering as possible. This harrowing fact came to be reiterated in the 2010 documentary San Hua in which one of the interviewed cooks rather casually remarked that the worse the dogs come to be treated, the better they taste!
The tragic fate of animals under human kind
In Pakistan, there are several incidents of animal abuse. It exists in the form of stoning , poisoning or culling of stray dogs. These silent, homeless animals come to be met with much ferocity since they cannot speak for themselves. The hunting of the endangered Hubara Bustards is also quite prevalent in Pakistan. Famous for their delicious meat, these migratory birds from the freezing cold Siberia come to Pakistan in their quest for warmer weather during the season of winter. However, from the end of November to the end of Feb, the hunting season, they come to be easily hunted and relished despite being declared as one of the protective species.
In Srilanka, the widely advertised elephants for tourist rides are generally kept isolated and chained. Impelled to tour along the same routes multiples times daily to cater to tourists visits, these elephants are expected to move on and on in sweltering heat. This situation comes to be aggravated by the fact that the Howdah ( travelling metal seat strapped on the elephants tender back) causes permanent spinal damage to elephants since the built in pressure against the sharp bony profusion of the elephants spine is quite hurtful. These elephants additionally come to live in constant state of fear, threatened by a bull hook meant to injure them if they do not follow directions during travel rides.
Blind men but feeling animals
Just because animals lack a verbal enunciation of their pain does not mandate that they come to be subjected to such viciousness.When Rene Descartes claimed his mechanistic view on animals, projecting them as irrational, immoral beings incapable of feeling the semblance of any emotions, he made an erroneous statement. Recent observations display that animals silence speaks of their kind heart and observant selves. They do possess a moral compass that we choose to oversee. Do we not know of the Russian cat Masha, the ‘hero’ who saved an abandoned baby she found lying in a box. Keeping him warm all night, in the embrace of her furs, she meowed politely to attract attention for help, and which she did manage to secure! Her act of kindness, ended up saving the abandoned baby’s life. Talking of dolphins, their kindness is well displayed in their successful attempts of liberating swimmers from hammerhead sharks. Even elephants exhibit the tendency to empathise as well as mourn. Studies have revealed that when a member from the elephant troop passes away, the remaining fellows will ‘bury’ the elephant with leaves and grass and just as human tend to visit gravesites as a gesture of respect to the departed soul. Elephants too frequent the bones of their fellow dead elephants for years to come.
Having regressed to point of relishing in animal cruelty and exploitation, little can be said about the modern day man. Hailed as the crown of creations, man fails to live up to his best curated image. Where humanity, kindness and empathy were to be his prime assets directing his everyday interactions and course of choices, he belies this moral expectation. Despite possessing a voice coupled with an agency for active engagement of his personal affairs, he fails to realise his ethical responsibilities. Where he should have nurtured a symbiotic bonding with the voiceless creations, he desperately fails.
Unless man rectifies this attitude, unless we see a discontinuation of our projected angst and violence on animals, we as humans terribly fail. It would only take a minuscule amount of time for self-realisation of our attitudes. Just let it to be now, before its too late.