Two different worlds, but one big family!
So Eid is being celebrated and we have people commenting on animal rights! Hypocrisy and pointing fingers at others is something that we humans are completely comfortable with and the Eid will be no different.
We also had some people pointing fingers at Gadhimai (banned now after relentless campaign) but worse is that many of these critics turn out to be those who cherish meat or other cruel animal products in some way or the other.
These ‘closet’ animal right activists only come out to drop a tear or two on special occasions while they remain in hibernation on cruelty against animals every other day!
When there were calls to ban animal slaughter for a few days on the occasion of Jain religious event, then everyone, virtually everyone was on the side of ‘freedom to eat whatever I want’ brigade with people even threatening Jain community with throwing meat in their houses!
The number of critical posts and a sudden rush for animal rights increases only whenever it is the ‘other’ side which is deemed to be at fault. But does such newly found enthusiasm bring some worthwhile respite for the animals? Not really especially when each side is content at pointing fingers at another; so we have someone worrying about bloodshed on some festival, but the accuser is no better either; he too could be a non-vegetarian gnawing at an animal’s bones or a kite-flier oblivious to the fact that the glass wire kills many birds every year, but for the sake of one-upmanship he would keep bellowing how the other side is so much crueler!
Often we find that slaughter with religious overtones is the most targeted. Halal slaughter is mandatory for Muslim community but other communities consume it too without any inhibitions and yet halal is one of the reasons on which this community is targeted on Eid. Isn’t that sheer hypocrisy?
Yulin dog slaughter evoked an impassioned outcry, many derided China because dogs are seen as ‘companion animals’ and ‘man’s best friend’ in many parts of the world, but why does it not matter that on Thanksgiving an equally beautiful creature, Turkey, is killed, again for flesh! Many perhaps do not even know that even horse meat is available in several parts of the world, and we are not even touching upon either the fur and leather industry or even farm animal industry, where animals often face unspeakable brutality without even a whisper of protests from any of these self-styled animal rights activists.
They too deserve compassion.
Let us consider a few cases; some people claim that Japan’s fishing of whales is a primitive practice, but will they bother to raise their voice on the number of pilot whales which are brutally killed each year on the Faroe Islands, which is an autonomous territory within the kingdom of Denmark. To kill these helpless beings people use sharp hooks and knives. Many get outraged each year by this bloodfest but a staggering many also defend the slaughter claiming this to be their cultural right! And this is the same country that has banned Halal and Kosher meat claiming that “animal rights come before religion!” If this is not hypocrisy then what is!
Animals need true human friends to fight for them.
Just a few days back PETA had revealed that the University of Georgia (UGA) had allowed civilian and military trainees to “cut holes into the throats, chests, and limbs of live dogs as well as other animals in deadly and inferior medical training drills.” When the news came to light the school in question declared that such tests won’t be done.
Earlier PETA had launched a campaign to save baby seals. These babies are to be murdered with sharpest of objects and then have to face a bloodied painful death because each year Canadian government allows hunters to do unspeakable crimes against these helpless beings.
These are just some examples, there are wild animals like Cecil who are hunted down, there are millions who are killed each day for some reason or the other and all we see is ‘selective outrage’ and ‘selective compassion’ on ‘selective days.’ It is irksome to find that animal rights and crimes against them are trivialized by sections which see them as nothing less than an object, but it is even more heartbreaking to see animal slaughter be used to score brownie points over each other.
As I write this, a gruesome incident had taken place in Kerala where dogs were slaughtered and hung on trees to send the political rivals a message. The commodification of animals and degrading them as products to be flaunted, to be abused at will has led us to a situation where animal rights activists are seen with hate and as ‘troublemakers’ belonging to the ‘other side.’
What many do not understand is that animal rights activism is a life-long commitment; it often includes series of heartbreaks because violence against animals is considered ‘normal’ and also indispensable for mankind to assert its supremacy over other living beings. The animals are either for us to wear, to eat, or to abuse because they are not considered to be capable enough to feel the same emotions or pain as we do.
Most animal lovers are prepared for such attitude but what hurts the most is hypocritical attitude of people on what amounts to ‘cruelty.’
PETA activist Benazir Suraiya found this last year when she was a victim of abuse and threats because her actions to raise awareness on animal rights were dubbed as being interfering in religion.
It is her own resolute spirit that she has not abandoned the fight for justice and continues to campaign for animals even today.
And this is exactly what the animals deserve; compassionate people fighting against cultural taboos for a simple right; right to exist.