Human Beasts and Helpless Animals
Columns, In Black & White

Human Beasts and Helpless Animals

On Tuesday, selfie-obsession took another life. This time it was not suicidal. It was murder.

On Monday an eight-month-old elephant calf with fever strayed near a village in Gundulpet with its mother. The villagers raised a ruckus and pelted stones at them. The mother and calf ran for their life. The mother made it back into the forest but the calf could not. That’s when a pack of humans surrounded the calf, pushed it around, tugged at its tail, toyed with its sensitive trunk, pulled its ears and started clicking selfies.  After much struggle, the forest officials managed to rescue the calf from the ‘selfie-grip’ of wild humans, but alas the calf died.

Meanwhile, the mother had returned to where she had lost her calf and stood trumpeting, calling for her baby, not knowing that cruel men had murdered her child, and for what? A selfie.

This tragedy shows how cruel we have become. Such acts of cruelty against animals are being reported across our nation. In Gurgaon’s Mandawar village, a leopard was chased and beaten to death. This gruesome act was filmed and people posed triumphantly with its body.

In Chitradurga, Karnataka, people cornered a sloth bear and attacked it with sticks and rocks. The bear barely survived.

In Assam, a mob not only killed a leopard that had mauled and killed an elderly person but they cut up the big cat and ate it.  Such acts make one wonder who is the real beast here?

But when humans turn into beasts it is the law that should scare them back to being humane, which isn’t happening because the law itself needs some rescuing.

Under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, a first-time offender can walk free after paying a paltry Rs.50 as fine. A second time offender would face a fine of upto Rs.100 and upto 3 months of imprisonment if the court wishes. But courts rarely wish punishment upon animal abusers.

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Some of us may recall two incidents — first where two students of Madha Medical College, Chennai, filmed a video of themselves throwing a street dog off a terrace for fun. The dog suffered multiple fractures and now can hardly walk. But the students walked away comfortably after paying Rs.2 lakh fine to the Animal Welfare Board.

Then there is the case of four students of the Christian Medical College in Vellore near Chennai. These students caught hold of a monkey, tortured it in front of 30 classmates. When the Police came they found the monkey had multiple fractures from being tied up and beaten.  They also saw that a stick had been inserted in the monkey’s rectum and forced out through the front of its body and then partially burnt. It’s shocking that not even one of the 30 classmates stopped this macabre act.

How perverse. How disturbing and more importantly, how can these medical students be allowed to become doctors, a profession that requires empathy and kindness?

The courts, apart from fining them, should have set up a team to monitor them because such level of sadism cannot make a good doctor. It can make only sociopaths who could be a danger to society.

Even the special animal, the Holy Cow, has it hard. Where are the gau rakshaks to rescue cows that are left to eat plastic bags which causes painful death?

Our MCC Commissioner recently said that cattle owners who let their cows wander and eat plastic near dustbins would be fined Rs.500 for the first offence, the second time they would confiscate the cow and take it to Pinjrapole.  Was it done? No.

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When you only talk about a stick and don’t use it, people will assume you don’t have one. This is the problem. Our law is only talk, there is no stick.

The father of this nation had said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Today let alone animals, we don’t even treat humans with kindness.

Now, when it comes to animals and nature all of us can learn a thing or two from the people of Bishnoi community in Rajasthan. This community with a few thousand people have been following Hindu Guru Sri Jambeshwar Bhagwan since the 15th century and religiously obey 29 rules set by him. One of the rules is that they should love and protect both animals and nature.

So this community fiercely protects its trees and animals.  In fact, Bishnoi women even breast-feed orphaned baby deer. No wonder, poachers don’t dare enter the forest areas close to this village.

It is said, “Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test… consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.” In that we have failed. We have failed because our laws have failed.

Even our Constitution states that one of our Fundamental Duties (Article 51(g)) is that we show compassion to all living creatures. But then, when have we ever cared about fundamental duties, we only want our fundamental rights. And so sadly animal rights are out of our sight.

e-mail: [email protected]

January 6, 2018

3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Human Beasts and Helpless Animals”

  1. Informed says:

    By asking where are the gau rakshas, you are showing hate and your hyprocracy. While you write here, gau rakshas actually save cows. Gaurakshas are not some organized parties or organization or a constitutional agency who is responsible for preventing animal abuse in the country. They are just a group of like minded people doing a service for society by preventing atrocities to big cattles. How stupid it is to expect these volunteers to take responsibility for saving every cow on the street? Your view is hyprocratic because your article is about respecting animals but also ridiculing gaurakshas. You also say that no poachers dare to touch villages of bishnois, so they are good animalrakshas , but gaurakshas are bad? Do you even know the number of people killed and attacked by cattle smugglers? You ruined your entire article by one hypocratic statement. Gaurakshas are just people like you and I, but just one step above you, for they don’t just write but act in defence of animals risking their lives. Thank them and stand with them because they fight for the same cause that you have written about.

  2. swamy says:

    The wild human beasts are drunken monkeys without tail. They don;t have thinking capacity and it is unfortunate nobody is there to tie them up and discipline.

  3. Loy Dsouza says:

    Firstly I appreciate Mr. Vikram for writing on this issue. Our Knowledge on wild life has been limited to Hitech zoo’s, Bird sanctuaries Dolphinarium’s and our so called Forest reserves which have been a hunting ground for poachers. I firstly believe we need to educate people on forest conservation and consequence of human interference in forests. Educating people on these aspects is the only solution to these Inhuman acts. Secondly fines, these days INR 100 or INR 50 is not sufficient to have a decent meal, how can it compensate as a fine and more over loss of life. I have been a regular Visitor to Mysore Dasara Exhibition since my childhood days and my favourite part is been visiting the wild life and forest stand which again only has stuffed animals and age old exhibits, there is no information on forest conservation poaching or animal extinction. I hope This article from Mr. Vikram puts some light on these issues and educate people.

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