A National Conference on Animal and Environmental Welfare was organized in National Law University Odisha, Cuttack last week on 25 & 26 of September. Smt. Maneka Gandhi, the current Union Minister for Women and Child development was the chief guest and keynote speaker of the conference. She is seen as the face of animal and environmental rights’ activism in the country.
Her talk was centered on animal abuse. Being the wonderful orator, that she is, she drew a consequential chain of events which connected animal abuse to quality of human life. The topic of the talk was not unusual but her opinion and way of presenting it was certainly refreshing, knowledgeable and eye-opening. She also spoke about the cases she had fought regarding animal abuse, the difficulties faced and the problems unraveled.
Recreating the information gathered, it would be safe to say that animal abuse is not as trivial a matter as it seems prima facie. If a person is abusive to animals, it have been seen and recorded that the same person would be abusive and insensitive towards other human beings. For this reason alone, the children who pluck the wings of a butterfly or throw puppies in fire or throw stones at a small pup or bird should be discouraged from the starting instead of being applauded for their violent behavior. The psychological effect that early childhood violence has on brain results in future violent and criminal mind of a human.
Animal abuse not only affects psychology of a human but also the quality of life along with the culture and geography. Take for example a poultry shop, the general practice noticed is that the chicken are kept in cages too small for them. There is often more than one bird in the cage which does not have space for even one chicken to flap its wings. As a result of this the chicken perceives its “roommate” as an immediate enemy and scratches and pokes it with the beak; a butcher, for obvious reasons, cannot have his goods been destroyed for which they cut the beak and legs of the chicken with a hot iron as soon as they are born. To keep them birds alive by feeding them anti-biotic. The anti-biotic used in the poultry industry are the ones which are banned for human consumption. The point here is that at this point we have not only became immune to the regular allowed anti-biotic but also to the once which were banned as they deplete human health. ‘We’ here includes meat eaters and vegetarians both. The fact about vegetarians being immune should not come as a shock because the harmful anti-biotic is not only present in the meat but also in the blood of the animal so consumed; the blood particles which flies carry along with them depositing the anti-biotic filled blood on the growing vegetables.
To contemplate as to how a simple action of not providing chicken enough space to flutter its wings leads to such a grave outcome is beyond comprehendible and yet happening. Also the use of lab rats to test medicines and surgeries is discouraged. The talk emphasized on the importance of each and every bacteria, insect and animal present in our ecosystem and the un-necessity of animals in our food chain. The argument surrounding on the lines of, ‘increase in the number of animals on streets and creation of void if the consumption of animals stopped’ was explained to be untrue as the nature knows how to sustain itself by giving the example of population of donkeys which still hasn’t overran the world despite of the fact that we do not consume them.
Cases of human cruelty and violence were brought to light by stating the example of Mauritius and Dodo, a chain of subsequent events was drawn illustrating how a simple act of killing a bird- Dodo, not only resulted in one species of birds going extinct but also resulted in one species of trees going extinct and Mauritius losing not only its wealth but also its culture and people along the way.
Being a vegetarian herself, Maneka Gandhi does not encourage the consumption of meat but supports the consumption of ‘clean meat’, which she said would be the “second disruption” in the world of science. Clean meat is the concept of generating meat scientifically by using a single animal cell instead of killing an animal. It is a performed and successful concept whereby a hamburger was created using meat generated by multiplication of cells. The meat so made is not only pure from the bacteria’s and anti-biotic present in the otherwise body of an animal but also saves life of the animal which in turn saves humans.
The confidence which she showed to the success of this initiative was addictive. Meanwhile, she encouraged the students to question everything they use in their day-to-day routine. Not only what they eat but also the ingredients used in their soaps, shampoos and also the utensil they are eating in (quoting for instance, bone china plate which are made by actual bones). She encouraged the students to use their right to know and create pressure over the manufacturers who try to make fool of us by using products which are not fit for the use of a human in daily routine. Her campaign of red and green dot supports the same. Overall, not only was she educating but also gave a cause to the students to stand by. Concluding, it is correct to say that, we need to raise our voices against the wrong committed by our fellow humans and shun the cruelty shown to animals if we want a peaceful, good quality and long existence on this planet.
Bhanu Priya Bhati
Student Reporter- INBA