Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Outside the bill

Bijal Vachcharajani on how she was always an animal rights activist:
Ever since I can remember, the treatment of animals at the hands of humans has always made a deep impression on me. When a roadside chicken vendor raised his hand to sever a hen’s head from her body, I would cringe; when children of my age flocked to Juhu beach to ride horse-carts and clap at monkeys dancing, I would desist; my first trip to the circus turned out to be the last one. My sister gifted me a leather watch for my birthday, but on chancing upon a newspaper report about investigations in the leather industry—photos of cows and bulls forced to walk for miles between trucking points, beaten, chilli pepper rubbed into their eyes, tails twisted and broken to herd them ahead, overcrowded into trucks where live animals struggle under the dead, and finally meeting a painful death — I promptly changed my belt to a blood-less synthetic one.
I so agree. It took me far more time than it took her, but for some years now, I've stopped buying silk or leather. There are enough other natural as well as synthetic fabrics, suiting all budgets these days, to justify buying another Kanchipuram silk.

But, Bijal points out, there are also difficulties in working for animal rights. Some of these are ethical difficulties; some come in the form of threats:
There are times when people come to me and say: “Why are you working for a bloody animal when people are dying on the streets?” Makes one wonder-- if that person cares passionately for the underprivileged, then why isn’t he out on the streets helping them instead of asking pointless questions. Apart from the evolutionary, philosophical, emotional, moral and ethical argument, which rationalises why a person works for animals, at the end of the day it’s simple--animals too have rights.

So many times, people on the road have ganged up against us when we have confiscated parakeets from sellers or stopped urchins from stoning a stray dog. These are times when the man-animal conflict comes to the fore and it is always a painful experience. In the larger picture too, be it the leopards of Bollywood, or the elephants down south, there is always a flip side-- either a human is hurt or an animal is killed. Of course, deep down, it is our so-called development that drives animals to desperate measures and come hunting for food in what was once their own home, but now is taken over by people.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi i'm staying in malad, our building there are several flats who have pets..recently our building has formed a society and now the residents who don't have pets are creating for these two legged babies..
they can't stroll in building premises.

they cannot use the elevator even if u r on the twevelth floor they want us to climb up and down with our pets ..

pls pls help me i want to know should we quitely follow these instructions or are there any animal rights whre we can fight for our pets as they too have equal right to stay with us,use the elevator to move up and down .

pls guide me how do i tackle such ruthlesss residents.

9:10 PM  
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