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Animal Cruelty in India

Simran Raghani

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Known as a land for worshipping its animals, it’s ironic how there exists a hierarchy in the way animals are treated in this country. While some are prayed and given the status of ‘god’, others are treated miserably and sometimes even tortured to death. Animal cruelty is a serious issue in India and every year thousands of animals are being abused and ill treated. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 strictly prohibits hitting or ill treatment of animals, but the reality is far more different. Every once in a while a viral post on social media makes the headlines and disturbs everyone, a person hitting a dog or throwing them off a building have become a very common sight now and that’s a huge problem. Ever since the lockdown due to the pandemic, animal cruelty cases have only increased and that’s due to no consequences for their action.

In June, a video from Telangana went viral on social media. A pregnant elephant left from the Silent Valley Forest and strolled to a nearby village in search of food. The animal was fed a pineapple stuffed with a firecracker by a local and as soon as she chomped on the fruit, it broke her jaw and exploded in her mouth, killing the poor elephant. It came to be known that this was used as a means of keeping the boars away from the fields. This act caused an outrage on social media and in the news where people demanded stricter laws for animals, but no consequences post that. In Haryana, a pregnant goat was raped by 8 men and was later found dead by the owner after it went missing. It came to be known later that the poor goat was stolen and abused in an abandoned house where she was raped by the accused. One of the accused met the owner of the goat and admitted to raping her and had the audacity of saying that he had a nice time while committing the heinous crime. There is no fear amongst these people and these are just some of the incidents, there are numerous others which don’t even get the spotlight.

Another incident was from last year in Mumbai. Monsoon and heavy rains can be a really difficult time for stray dogs and animals and they find shelter in the basement of buildings. When a dog named Lucky tried to take a shelter in a building, he was beaten and thrashed by the security guards on the instructions of the secretary of the building. Later, Lucky was rushed to get treated, he was extremely malnourished and skinny and would flinch every time his wounds were cleaned. Unfortunately, Lucky succumbed to his injuries. Many protests were held in support of Lucky outside the building.

2017 Netflix film Okja explores the topic of animal cruelty in a very interesting way. It shows a meat producing company which organises a special event to improve its bad reputation as a corporate mafia. There are animal activists used as brand ambassadors and farmers chosen from all around the world to raise ten genetically modified pigs and the best one is then chosen as a winner, for the sole purpose of being slaughtered and then eaten by others. The scary part is that it isn’t far from the reality. Companies producing packaged meat products often indulge in such kinds of activities where they keep animals in unhygienic environments, perform force breeding and different experiments on them. They kill thousands of animals on a daily basis but get away with it because of corruption. Cosmetic companies use around 60,000 chemicals which are tested on rats, monkeys, rabbits. Abusing living beings who cannot express their pain in words is extremely inhumane.

In no way is animal cruelty justified but there are reasons why some people torture animals. Research has shown that one of the main reasons behind animal cruelty is because some people have been ill-treating animals since their childhood. The other most prominent reason is due to some psychological disorder, namely, personality disorder or antisocial disorder. Another reason is that people who torment animals witness domestic abuse in their own houses or have been victims of abuse themselves consider this as something normal. Other reasons include being pressured into harming animals by some higher authority, imitating someone around who abuses animals, being sexually interested in animals which leads to having intercourse with them and sexually abusing them, known as "bestiality" and lastly the fear of being hurt by animals is also one of the reasons as to why some people hurt animals.

The only way to solve this problem is by teaching people; especially kids to be respectful and kind to animals so the entire generation becomes aware. Children easily pick up the way the adults around them do things. Teach the kids to handle all animals with love, care and affection. Many professionals believe that children who are cruel to animals grow up to be cruel to humans later as well. Hence it is very important for people to teach children about being considerate to animals. It is essential for people to also report animal abuse when they see it. By reporting the crime, we ensure that the animal gets the proper care and love and the government has already made helplines that can help in such situations. The society should also donate to initiatives which work for animal rights protection and provide these animals with food, water, shelter and medicines when necessary. Despite of having so many laws for animal protection, animal cruelty is still taking place in large numbers, the punishment for these abusers is almost non existent. It is necessary for the government to enforce stricter laws with harsh punishments so no such crimes are committed in future. People often buy animals because they want a specific breed but what they do not realise is the breeders often torture these animals, inject them with so many different substances and keep them in cages due to which they become vulnerable and sick. By adopting animals from shelters, we are indirectly saying no to animal cruelty. To add to this, animals from shelters are already trained and they too deserve a home.

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