They Deserve Better

11 monkeys were beaten with sticks, followed by being splashed with acid, and were then dumped near National Highway 8, 66 km from Jaipur, in Rajasthan.

A man had unnatural sex with 3 cows in Vadodara. The owner later found the cows tied to a pole, one of the cows being dead, the other two being in critical conditions too.

Over 100 dogs were culled, burnt alive and then dumped in a forest area in Hyderabad.

A 35-year-old man raped a female dog inside his home in Kolkata.

A pregnant goat was gang-raped by 8 men in Haryana.

Over 1000 Nilgais were culled and buried alive by the forest department, in Bihar’s Vaishali district.

A stray dog fractured its skull after being beaten by an iron rod in Mumbai.

A cow was run over by a police vehicle in Chhattisgarh.

Elephants were beaten using hatchets and sticks, whilst their feet were tied together and were then burnt by traffickers in Rajasthan.

Near Agra, a street dog was left to die after workers poured hot tar on it while it was sleeping.

A medical student threw a dog off the terrace of a tall building in Chennai.

Mentioned above are very few recent, select headlines regarding instances of animal cruelty in India. These are over and above the cruelty faced by animals in factory farms, animal testing, and by pet-owners. Most cases aren’t even reported. Internationally, bullfighting, cockfighting, and other such animal fighting sports are a common practice, which is another form of animal abuse at its finest.

Most abused animals are the common pets- dogs, cats and such. Negligence of the owner is very common. Sad, but common. These pets are often not given food and water, are left to stay indoors indefinitely, and even physically abused. An immense number of cases are reported every year regarding pet abuse. Apart from this, keeping birds as pets, caged, is cruelty in itself. Birds, for petting, are usually made flightless. Birds are supposed to be free- they’re symbolized as freedom!

Some claim to like animals and end up hoarding animals as pets. Hoarding several animals often victimizes them. It may often impose severe neglect on the animals when the hoarder houses far more animals than they can adequately care for.
Then comes factory farming- probably the most traumatizing form of animal cruelty. And it’s practised in every country in the whole wide world!

Consider Dairy farms. Like every other mammal in the world, cows and buffaloes too, lactate only after they give birth to their young ones. Thus, for this to happen, these animals are subjected to forced breeding. The younger ones don’t care for much, and often taken away from their mothers on the very first day, because if the calves would be given more milk, how would they be able to sell this milk for profit?! Well, and if a male calf is born, it wouldn’t be profitable as an adult, so is usually starved to death, abandoned or sold for slaughter (veal). These animals are milked twice a day- morning and evening, every damn day of the year. Not to mention that since the owners would not want to invest in land, the animals are usually in tight spaces, barely enough to move even half a metre.

Even their feed usually isn’t high quality or nourishing. Free grazing is always better (some places around the world have adopted free grazing as a practice). But then again, if the dairy farm is too close to the city, the quality of the grass isn’t great either. Not to mention plastic and other waste that these animals chew down when they graze in urban areas. Oh, and the absurd, unethical waste management! We know that an animal, such as a cow or buffalo can produce quite a lot of dung. Most farmers have no waste management system in place and just let it flow along with water, hence, unhygienic conditions. To put other facts in place, the average life expectancy of a healthy, happy cow or buffalo would be around twenty-five years. But, in these profit-seeking factories, they live no longer than six to eight years! This should give everyone a perspective on their living conditions.

Now, if you think these dairy animals have a harsh life, chickens have it worse. Over 90% of chickens raised for meat in India are raised on industrialized factory farms (broilers). The poultry industry forces chickens to live in huge sheds with tens of thousands of other chickens (and we complain about our matchbox apartments in Mumbai, sigh!). Broiler chickens have been selectively bred by animal scientists to grow muscle mass extremely fast. Their muscle growth far outpaces the development of their skeletal system and internal organs, resulting in their skeletal and organ systems not being able to keep up with the unnaturally large muscles. Some birds, hence are unable to walk to food and water and die of starvation or dehydration. These chickens are slaughtered when they are only about six weeks old, weighing about 2 kg at this point!

The chickens are picked up by their legs and crammed into cages (we’ve all seen the chicken truck) to be transported to chicken shops. Animals are often killed within sight of one another, either using the Halal method, which involves cutting the animal’s throat and leaving the animal to bleed out or the Jhatka method, where they are beheaded. Other animals who are bred for the consumption of their meat have a similar life story (a not very pleasing story to tell when they’re out on their dates). I once saw a person feed a young goat oil directly (obviously, to fatten it up before Ramzan!).

Now, can we as humans, capable of causing change if we intended to, do something to help these animals? Any animal, in general, intended for profit doesn’t lead the #goodlife. Humanity, ever since the dawn of man, has believed that animals are ours to use and abuse. As such, conditions under which these animals are kept have drastically deteriorated. Well, surely, going vegan, or even vegetarian as a stepping stone would probably be the best solution to the factory farm problem. While this is the most efficient solution, I wouldn’t expect every human on the planet to follow this regime. Instead, we can have more humane conditions for these animals perhaps? More living space, free grazing in non-urban areas, and letting them grow at their natural pace, rather than speeding the process using steroids.

As far as pet animals are concerned, every pet owner should pass a background check to be able to have a pet. This would, to a good extent, ensure the ethical treatment of animals. For the stray animals that are abused, there is honestly not much we can do. Maybe imposing stricter laws regarding animal abuse could work, but I believe, the best way would be- for those of us who do understand, and have a general emotional sense, to stop those without this sense whenever we see something like this happening.

The most basic things that we take for granted- freedom to move, breathe fresh air (even by the polluted standards), eat and drink as we please, aren’t available to these speechless, feeble creatures. When humans act with cruelty, we characterize them as ‘animals’, and yet, the only animal that displays cruelty is human. These animals, like every one of us, feel pain, fall ill, and above everything else, intend to be free, but they cannot speak for themselves. Thus, we must!