Experiences with animal cruelty.
|I was on my way to class the other day and on the way I saw a laborer and his carrier, a donkey. The animal was as calm as it could be, silently obeying its master's commands (God forbid it’s not with a stick or a whip). Two heavy bags of bricks on both its sides and the man was unloading the bricks. I don't know what overcame me but I went and touched the donkey's ears. It felt soft and warm. The little grayish hair strands making its presence felt through the touch.
The Bible has mentioned that men were made superior to other animals by God and we are supposed to be the masters of them all. But I don't think He meant cruelty towards animals. I have seen many an inhuman treatment meted out against them first hand. But the one that stands out the most is the one incident about some elephants.
I was a teenager then. It was one sunny jobless afternoon, a couple of friends and I decided to go over the hills in the outskirts and check out the things on the other side. Like all typical hills in the area it was alive with streams running, birds chirping and the occasional sights of squirrels. In no time we ascended the top and made our way to the foot of the hill on the other side. Halfway down the hill, we saw a herd of elephants and their mahouts. I didn't care much about the elephants then and struck up a conversation with the mahouts and learned that they had liquor with them and were generous enough to offer us their drinks! Now which teenager in his right mind, who hadn't tasted liquor in his life, would not wanna drink? After all I was sick and tired of listening to my friends boasting every time about what they drank and how much they can drink. Rather I wanted to be cool too . I was like "Bring it on"...But life had other things in plan for me that day. Anyway I was drinking the thing when the sight of the elephants caught my attention and it wasn't pleasant at all.
Mind you the hill was quite sleep and the elephants were dragging logs of wood tied to their bodies. That’s not even the worst part. The mahout atop an elephant was holding a khukri in his hand and the elephant's ears were all torn. In fact cut into little strips. I guess you can figure out what happened there. The worst part, though, was that there was another guy on foot following the elephants with a catapult and shooting the elephant's testicles and hitting the same with a tree branch. Human greed for more of everything and being too ambitious, most likely. The scene was just too much. In fact, so overwhelming was it that it overcame my thoughts about the day, the hill and the drink itself. Though I was not man enough to cry that day, something inside me choked and shed a tear somewhere. I'm not doing such a thing. No today, not ever. It really upsets me even today to see someone hurting a dog, a cat, a pig or even a hen.
Now coming back to the donkey story, if karma is to be believed, what did it do in its past life that it has to suffer so much now? For those of us who don't believe in karma, what if our lives were to be swapped for a change. Can we bear such atrocities and the cruelty meted out towards us? I doubt. I have a very bad feeling that if animals can speak as well as humans can, the world will be full of cries and sorrows. Not humans' but animals'. Who knows they have already been crying out since time immemorial and it is us who are not making their cries audible. Maybe we just need to open up our ears and listen more closely.
Don't get me wrong though. I'm a non strict vegetarian. But if I had a cow, a buffalo, a donkey or even an elephant, I'd feed it properly as well as I can. If I cannot do that, maybe release somewhere where it can look after itself or do something. But I'll try to figure out a way... A life is a life, be it an animal's or a man's. Perhaps who knows they may also have a dignity of their own! For it was Emiliano Zapata who said “It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees". Please have respect for the animals, be they tiny or majestic, and a big full stop to this cruelty towards our fellow earthlings.