Canines: right to live!

We love our canines and most of us would love to provide them a better world to live in. Here’s a forum for all animal lovers to voice the rights of our pooches and become their guardians in a true sense.

The Indian culture has always encouraged its cliché to grow in natural existence; natural existence that is further harmonized by the environment we live in. It goes back to the teachings of the Gurukul, where the gurus believed in teaching their students amidst the natural surroundings, an environment where the harmony of flora and fauna co-existed.

Not only this, Indian mythology has worshipped animals and considered them sacred. For example, cows are considered holy because of Lord Krishna’s (avatar of Vishnu, the Supreme God) association with her; rat is the vehicle of Lord Ganesha (the God of prosperity) and dog is the vehicle of Bhairava (the incarnation of Lord Shiva, the destroyer).

The Mahabharata highlights yet another interesting tale about our furry canines, wherein Yudhishtira, the eldest Pandav, along with his four brothers and wife Draupadi, proceed on the great journey or ‘Mahaprasthna’ to obtain spiritual peace. They gave up all worldly possessions and handed over their empire in able hands. They bade farewell to everybody, leaving everybody behind, except a dog, who followed them throughout their journey. On the way, all died except Yudhishtira and the dog, who managed to reach their destination. Devendra, the God of firmament and the king of the abode of gods, came on a heavenly chariot and offered Yudhishtira to come with him to the heavenly abode. But, Yudhishtira refused to leave his brothers and Draupadi behind. At this, Devendra told him that all of them have left their human bodies and already waiting for him in the heaven. At this, Yudhishtira exclaimed that he couldn’t leave the dog behind, who had been faithful to him. He said that he couldn’t abandon someone who had trusted him. Hearing these words, the dog suddenly transformed into Yamadharma and exclaimed that Yudhishtira had been a righteous man and his love and compassion for living beings is exemplary. He then asked him to board the chariot and go to heaven.

There are numerous other instances where our loving pooches have woofed into the hearts of their pet parents. Amidst all these, we hear of barbarous acts inflicted on our animals and animal lovers like us, feel the heat. Some animal activists have raised their voices in protest of such incidents but still a lot needs to be done.

It is in this context that we are starting a section on ‘Animal rights.’ This would be the forum for all animal lovers to express their views on the subject and make a difference. To start with, here are views of two of our readers:

Why animal rights?

“Animals are God’s creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but precious beings in God’s sight.”

-Rev. Dr. Andrew Linzey 1952

One might ask that what are animal rights and why are they required. Well, each living being has a right to live and have a complete sensory nervous system allowing them to be aware and communicative. Like us, they also feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of the reforming Utilitarian School of Moral Philosophy, stated that when deciding on a being’s rights, “The question is neither ‘Can they reason?’ nor ‘Can they talk?’ but ‘Can they suffer?’” Animals surely deserve to live their lives free from suffering and exploitation.

Animals have certain rights, for instance, a dog most certainly would not like having pain inflicted on him unnecessarily. Hence, care should be taken not to hurt them in any way. Children should be taught to respect their pets and not to hurt them while playing.

Only after understanding that animals too have rights to live their lives free from suffering and pain done by humans, then only we can understand the pain given to animals and join hands to stop this merciless torture.

– Abhaya Adlakha

The present day barbarians

Two months back, I was shocked to hear two news of brutalities endowed upon our canines. While one of the news focussed on BMC’s (Bombay Municipal Corporation) decision to kill all strays in Bombay, on the pretext “Like Singapore,” the other focused on a brutal game of dogs. It is a game where dogs are killed and made to kill his own kind for pleasure and betting. It showcased one of the most cruel, barbaric, outrageous and unfortunate acts. The dogs are pitted to fight each other only to make their cruel masters rich. They are brutally injured, starved, beaten and forced to become ferocious. The winner lives for another episode of barbarism while the loser dies in pain and suffering either during or after the fight. Our loyal friends are trained by a few greedy people to become wild. Disgusting, I would say!

Canines have proven time and again to save and protect us. They have been successfully trained to become the eye to the blind and serving the less. A simple so-called stray is untrained but he still guards the neighbourhood, as he struggles to survive, caring for their litter and loving everyone around. Let us all join in the struggle to save our friends from such brutalities.

– Rachel Isaac, Mumbai

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