To really be bothered about the plight of animals and take a stand for their rights is a road less taken in a country like India. For a country that is already marred with several internal problems, where children go to sleep on an empty stomach, a few are readily bothered enough to care for animals. But it isn’t the lesser number of animal lovers that is the problem; it is the obstacles thrown by the rest of the society that often reverses all the efforts taken.
In an ideal society, compassion need not be sought for the voiceless, it is readily given. In the real world however, stray animals are beaten, mutilated, thrown from terrace, poisoned, tortured and killed.
In such a world, when animal lovers provide food, water and shelter to animals, they are taunted for this wastage of resources. With the public killings of street dogs in Kerala, rise of animal fights backed by culture and the general apathy for animals, it is hard to figure where the future of animal rights in this country goes to.
Is it a failing of our constitution or our society? Our country has remarkable provisions of animal rights, I just don’t see how they can be enforced.
For example, it is illegal to relocate animals that have been operated for birth control. But most people are unaware of this, so it can’t be checked upon. It is also illegal to keep animals chained, with no provisions of food, comfort and optimal exercises, but we can vouch for the number of times we have seen old pets being chained outside, uncared for. It is a punishable offence to abandon any animals for whatever reasons; but one can easily spot an old dog that has outgrown its importance, roaming in the streets helplessly with a collar on its neck, a vestige of its previous ownership. It is also illegal to carry animals in a vehicle that might be uncomfortable; look at chickens or goats jammed in an auto to clearly prove otherwise.
It is a punishable offence to torture, kill or maim pets or strays.
Despite the many provisions, you can walk off after torturing an innocent stray to death with a fine of a measly 50 INR. What is it that we are lacking? Should we take a look at the countries having better provisions?
Germany has been providing constitutional protection to animals since 2002. The law reads that it is in the best interest of future generations. In Hong Kong, animal abuse can levy heavy fines and imprisonment of up to three years. Switzerland and UK have made it illegal to crop the tails of dogs.
The former makes it an offence to separate puppies from their mothers before 56 days, while the latter makes it illegal for a child under sixteen to buy a pet.
These are the few of the many countries that have realized the importance of animal rights. India should take lead from such examples. But I suppose, despite the many provisions beforehand and the new laws that can be framed, nothing is really going to change unless a stringent system of punishment is doctored for animal abuse. The most important task at hand, is to educate children at an early that humans have to live cordially with other species as well and teach them compassion. The other task is to make people aware that they have to stop being entitled pricks who don’t give two hoots about the welfare of animals.