Animal cruelty is a horrific crime which takes many forms. It demonstrates the abuse of power and control people hold over the lives of other creatures. Some may feel that it is easy to show their seemingly supreme nature through acts of unkind treatment or the abuse of control over the voiceless soul of a poor animal. But I believe the true nature of humanity is found in the ability to recognise and banish such indecent desires to inflict pain upon another living being, and rather show compassion. Encroaching on an animal’s wellbeing with acts of violence or entrapping them in a life of mistreatment is no celebration or act of bravery. In fact, it is an act of cowardice and shows a sheer lack of humanity in a person. But we are not ignorant towards the storm in the lives of animals when they are being abused. Speaking out against animal cruelty is an act which truly satisfies the heart and gives us the incredible power to transform dark days of suffering into illuminative ones. The result of lighting up another being’s life in this way is something we can all treasure and cherish forever.
It should be impossible for anyone to turn away from the sufferings of an innocent animal caused by ghastly human acts. However, according to the RSPCA annual report for the 2014-2015 financial year, statistics show a terrifying total of 60,809 cruelty complaints, of which only 263 resulted in successful prosecutions. Earlier this year, I read about an incident which blew my mind and I will never forget what it was about. The story was about eight two-week-old puppies who were hurled against a boulder right in front of their mother. The reason behind this horrifying act was an attempt for the old lady to assert her utter dominance over the mother dog; to scare the dog away and teach her a lesson for having puppies in a dry drain under her gate. The mother dog lost her puppies right before her eyes. She was helpless to stop what was happening, and bewildered by the brutality, which traumatised her until she passed away six months later. I am still rendered speechless when I remember the awful details of that story. This barbaric act took away eight precious lives, and destroyed what could have been an innocent and happy family. We would never allow these things to happen to our own kind—our own families—and merely the thought makes my heart skip a beat.
Abandoned pets are an unfortunately common example of animal cruelty. They are warmly welcomed into families full of excitement, as birthday or Christmas surprises, but they are eventually ignored and left in dire circumstances. It’s hard imagining the plight of a three-month-old pet dog tied up in a polythene bag, or beaten and left to die in a deserted place with no shelter, food, or water. When pets come into our lives, they are meant to bring us happiness, but they also become our responsibility. They should not be treated like a commodity with some expiry date. And just as pets should not be treated this way, wild animals should not be treated this way either. How many news stories have appeared recently about sea animals who have been dragged out of water for a selfie, only to suffer injuries and death?
Even the thought of the way animals are slaughtered sends a chill down my spine. It is beyond human strength to witness the slaughtering of animals. From their heart-wrenching cries as they are queueing for their gruesome deaths, to their numb faces in torturous captivity. The images that depict their short and painful journeys are horrific. Their strong spirits are broken for ‘human entertainment’ in zoos and circuses. Our humanity is above and beyond everything, and we must all keep it alive until we die.
There are laws in place to punish those who commit crimes of animal abuse, and now more than ever, animal rights activists are growing in numbers and fighting for their cause. However, the unfortunate truth is that many of those who commit these crimes still get away unpunished. But I think it is important to remember that the universe finds a way to make us reap the consequences of the deeds that we have intentionally committed. It’s better late than never to understand our responsibilities towards the lives of animals and to help them bloom in any way possible. It is high time to respect their lives as equal to our own and do our bit to help them survive. Either choose to be protective towards them or stay miles away from their territory. We don’t own anything in this world, and we have been blessed temporarily with whatever we have. Just as some people think that they can take away the life and dignity of an animal, the supreme forces of nature can take away ours.
Words by Nisha Subhanje.