The privileged human race

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not to die, so do other creatures.”
– Dalai Lama

Is being human a privilege? This is the question that strikes the mind when regular occurrences of animal abuse are brought into the news, the recent one being the violent assault of a dog at a pet clinic in Mumbai.

We, humans, the species with highly evolved minds, the backbone of existence, and yet so oblivious about how futile our existence is for the world at large. Millions of years of evolution and here we are, assaulting helpless creatures for establishing the supremacy of our race. Why do we think so highly of ourselves? Do we inherently believe that the earth would stop revolving around the sun if humans ceased to exist? How come are we so fixated on this bubble of denial that all the lifeforms, the flora and fauna, and the whole of nature were barely striving to survive without us and would not flourish on their own?

The recent cases can shake a normal human to the core- a dog being mercilessly punched by two groomers, a lactating mother beaten to death by a mob of people, a street dog tied by a doctor to his car and dragged along for miles, doctors- who apparently should be recognized as Gods and to top them all- animals being raped by deranged humans. These cases give a reality check about the standard of society to which we are heading. Cinema constantly loves to reflect on the idea of a dystopian future for the human race, where freely breathing would be beyond the realm of reason and meanwhile, every species has been cursed to live its present in this constant dystopia owing to our actions, the actions of the most supreme beings.

The laws punishing the abuse of animals in our country are so fragile that one with sadistic tendencies ought to commit the crime repeatedly, for a few moments of amusement.

In India, it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to have compassion for all living creatures. The Indian Constitution recognizes animal rights under Article 51(A)(g) and Article 48(A), which mandate every Indian citizen to show compassion towards animals and wildlife.

  1. Article 48A: The state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the wildlife.
  2. Article 51(A)(g): To protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures.

Fundamental duties in the constitution of India are not legally binding upon the citizens, hence these are as good as the textbooks of moral values of a primary student. You won’t get punished if you refuse to follow these duties.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, of 1960, The punishments can vary from a fine of Rs.10 to a fine of Rs.50 and sometimes the culprit may also be imprisoned for a period of three months or more. Section 428 states that any person who commits a cruel act such as killing, poisoning, or rendering useless any animal of the value of Rs.10 or more shall be imprisoned for 2 years including a fine in most cases.

It is to be noted that imprisonment rarely occurs in these cases and usually the culprits are out on bail, the same day they are arrested by paying a “hefty” fine of Rs.50. This is the cost of the life of an animal- mere Rs. 50.

The silent, voiceless beings around us ask for nothing- not your sympathy, not your mercy. Just for you to live and let them live. Is it too much to ask for? It is not arduous and certainly not incomprehensible for us to respect the lifeforms that were initially responsible for the creation of the whole of life as it is today. Live and let live.

“There is little that separates humans from other sentient beings. We all feel joy, we all crave to be alive and to live freely and we all share this planet together.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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