Search This Blog

Loading...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Harmonious Living: Empathy for animal life!

At the start of every movie, there is a disclaimer: "No animals were harmed while shooting this movie". And it makes me wonder if the disclaimer is there only because of the animal rights board or because of a conscientious crew. The chances of the first scenario are higher. There are very few people who actually care whether animals are hurt or not. There are few people who consider animals as equals, who deserve rights of their own. And although, the animal welfare board and animal rights commission have done a great job in increasing the awareness, it is just that: an awareness campaign. For something like preventing cruelty, it is empathy that is required. Awareness without empathy is like having a computer without the correct programmer. The computer will do what it is asked to, but if the programmer does not give the right direction, the computer can only perform pre-defined tasks. Similarly a society that runs in the fear of animal activists will do only what is required, but not think about what more can be done.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Acts can direct people to protect the integrity of animals, but these acts cannot make people empathize and sympathize with animals. This is where animal welfare organizations come in. They do work under the preamble designed according to the Acts, but they go the extra mile in sensitizing the society towards the animal race. It is extremely pivotal that sensitization occurs at a young age, when there are no inherent biases in the cultivable mind. These organizations conduct awareness programs, but also bring the society, especially children in close quarters of the animals, in an attempt to reduce their inhibitions of animal contact. These organizations believe in the motto: "Today's aware child is tomorrow's responsible citizen!". By doing so, an opportunity is presented for people to experience the trauma of being an abused animal. Occasions like these stimulate the emotion centers in the brain and floods the person with a wave of responsibility and pro-activity. Especially if children try to be gentle to animals, it is difficult for parents and adults to let their children down. And so, there is promotion of the principles of the organization.


A post-operative hit and run case. 
One such organization is the Nagpur SPCA. SPCA is the Society for Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals and has multiple branches across India and the world. These branches are affiliated to the original Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals. I was born and brought up in Nagpur and thus, have witnessed the impactful work of Nagpur SPCA. The variety of ventures taken up by this society have been umpteen, ranging from releasing snakes from snake-charmers, tending for hit-and-run cases, rescuing wild animals, relief centers to tackle natural calamities (earthquake in Latur), running adoption campaigns for strays and many others. This society has not only worked for domesticated animals , but has ventured into the often unexplored realms of wildlife and has left no stone unturned in the attempt to preserve wildlife, at the same time, keeping citizens safe. 

A blind kitten being treated and housed at the animal shelter.
But, the most consequential problem that agitates the common man is of stray dogs, and that is one of the first things that needs to be tackled to generate empathy from people. If children are going to suffer from dog bites, contract infections from strays, nobody would ever want to work for the betterment of these animals. The Nagpur SPCA had realized this well ahead in time and accordingly, developed a long-term strategy to tackle with this ever-existent problem. These steps aim to uproot the main cause of disruption in the animal-human balance and create a more harmonious life for both races. 

It is important to realize that every issue has two sides to it. And as much as animal activists might want to promote the cause of animals, they have to acknowledge the fact that it cannot be at the cost of human life. It is this same thought that Nagpur SPCA has embedded in their task plan. If strays are inadvertently affecting the human population, the solution is not to send the animals to pounds and put an end to their life. f that were the case, every antisocial element in the society would be sentenced to death. We don't do that to people who behave like animals; then why the discrimination? Why not think logically and rise above barbarism? Why not think of animals as an indispensable part of the society? Once we do that, both races can thrive.

The solution suggested by Nagpur SPCA is to bring down the stray population and make them safe to be around. Strays do not crop up themselves. Most of the times, a stray locality is started by some dog owner no longer wanting to bear the responsibility and letting their dog out on the street. Once the dog is out, there is breeding and a litter of pups adds on to the stray population. If a few simple measures were adopted, the dog population would be cut down drastically and would present with a long term solution. But nobody wants to look at the big picture. People just want to take actions that will give them results then and there.

Stray puppies waiting to be adopted
It is creditable that this organization is trying to appease all members of the society by simple measures like Animal Birth Control (ABC) program, Anti-rabies vaccination for strays, Adoption campaigns, and  Awareness programs for the need to keep pets leashed. Under the ABC program, the organization plans to target different pockets of the city and procure as many strays in the area as possible, perform a castration surgery (sterilize the dogs), earmark the dogs for identification and release the dogs back to their locality. This method basically eliminates the chance of mating and prevents generation of fresh litter. It is also taken care that when the dogs are brought in, they are vaccinated against rabies (a fatal disease communicable to humans). At the same time, the organization is promoting adoption of stray pups, in a hope of reducing the stray numbers.

Strays peeking out of their rooms at the shelter.
Although, this is a rosy picture, the fact remains that all these ventures need a lot of infrastructure and money backing. The Municipal Corporation and government aid is able to support only so much; beyond a certain extent, the organization needs to rely on donations and external support. Support can be in any form: unwanted medicines, extra food, feeding bowls, etc. The local bakeries have been kind enough to provide SPCA with leftover crumbs rather than dispose them of. Sometimes, it is just a matter of knowing how to help. And if anybody would like to help, the administrators can be contacted for a visit to the animal shelter and hospital run by Nagpur SPCA, where the needs of the organization can be better gauged.

The measures adopted by SPCA have not only kept the menace of stray dogs at bay, it has also taken into account the existence of animals. They have not been fanatical about expecting people to take extreme measures for the protection of animals. Rational and feasible steps have been suggested. It is only for the community to take notice and contribute to a cause, which will, in the end, benefit the human race, without carrying the burden of bloodshed. This approach has been one of the hallmarks of this society and has helped in its successful establishment, presenting an acceptable image in the society. But, like all social causes, this needs financial support and emotional investment. A cause without emotional investment does not have ownership and without ownership, it is difficult to achieve goals. Goals that lead to the betterment of the society on the whole!

This blog post has been written for the National Social Venture Competition organized by iDiya.


5 comments:

  1. Nice Article about Dog... Keep on writing like this Amrutha...

    http://e-books-freedownload.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Amrutha

    Good luck for the contest.

    As you rightly pointed out its empathy thats required and not rules and regulations.

    Lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jayshree, I am glad you liked the post, there is nothing else I would want more than spreading awareness about this cause, and hopefully this contest helps me with it :)

      Delete
  3. Hi Amruta,

    I hope you know about PETA's upcoming event Hug a Vegetarian Day on 28th.

    I've created an facebook event for it http://www.facebook.com/events/208491479326755/

    That time I would to arrange a flash mob or something to attract the crowd then would like to show them R Madvan's "If slaughter houses had mirrors everyone would be vegan"

    So, I need your help in this.

    If you can contact me at palash.madakwar@gmail.com
    I will appreciate that.

    Thank You.

    ReplyDelete

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...