One of my favourite strips in Calvin and Hobbes has the two characters looking down at the stump of what must have been an old, large tree before it was hacked for wood. Calvin says: “Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.”Every day, it appears humans grow steadily more depraved, more brutal to the world around us. This weekend, even as Section 377 is being debated in the Supreme Court in the context of whether sex between two consenting adults of the same gender is natural, we woke up to the news of the kind of case against which the section was really meant for use.
We exploit and abuse animals physically, emotionally and sexually every day. The goat is only the latest victim of bestiality. About a year ago, a Delhi cab driver called Naresh Kumar was accused of raping a seven month old puppy to death in Naraina Industrial Area. He stuffed the dying puppy into a jute bag and left her in a dump. His drunken confession led animal rights activists who were feeding the puppy, named Jenny, to the dump, but it was too late to save her life. Police registered a case of cruelty to animals, under which an offender could get away with a fine of as little as Rs. 50 and no jail time. Sectiom 377 reads: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.” While Section 377 is constantly used to threaten same-sex couples and transgender people, has anyone who has sexually assaulted an animal been sent to prison? Depite a video of two aspiring doctors throwing a puppy off a terrace going viral, the sociopaths got away with a fine. It is not known whether they were allowed to complete their studies. Last year, a puppy had his little legs sawn off by a drunk man in Delhi. Some months ago, daschund was beaten to death with a cricket bat by a neighbour who picked a fight with the dog’s parent in Madras. In March this year, three men beat to death a dog which was sleeping in a temple in Junagadh in Gujarat, setting upon him with bamboo sticks. In Bombay, a man stabbed a dog to death after having a fight with his girlfriend. The list goes on – the man who rounds up dogs and bludgeons them to death in Kerala; the mob that killed dogs in Calcutta and attacked a man who was feeding strays; the trio which stoned a dog to death and then stole the carcass in Delhi; the man who stabbed sleeping dogs outside Green Park metro station in Delhi. Despite various studies establishing the link between cruelty to animals and a tendency towards psychopathy, which often manifests against other humans too, we have not imposed strict penalties on animal abuse. As a matter of fact, animal abuse drives our economy. When humans are not raping animals, we are ensuring that other animals rape them, so that we can have our supply of milk, meat, farm labour, and pet dogs from breeding centres. For all the debate over the government’s cow policies, we fail to call out its hypocrisy in bowing down to vested interests against the ban on the bloodsport jallikattu. We even fail to see the connection between the dairy, meat, and leather industries. Every year, there is an outcry against the dog eating festival in Yulin, but silence on the industrialised abuse of animals deemed less equal. Every year, “intersectionalities” becomes a buzzword in the discussion around gender equality and the rights of sexuality minorities, but those who raise their voices loudest for the need for oppressed groups to support each other will slurp their tongues while speaking of chicken biryani, conveniently forgetting that animals are the most oppressed group of all. There is no debate over zoos and aquariums. Animals are shot when humans are stupid enough to climb into their enclosures. Animals continue to be bred in zoos, despite evidence that zoo animals suffer from depression and even insanity from the lack of space, unhygienic conditions, and forced unnatural interaction with humans. With supermarkets allowing us to delude ourselves about the violence that produces the neatly packaged animal derivatives we buy over the counter, the notion of “milk of human kindness” has become obsolete. Perhaps the only hope for order to be restored in this world is for our species, which has come to embody avarice and apathy, to die out. Surely, god knows we are overdue for extinction?
More Columns by Nandini Krishnan:
"Rapistan": There are no safe places
The "most dangerous country" poll should not make us defensive
The illusion of secularism
When hooliganism is state-sanctioned
Tarun Tejpal case: When the media plays jury
Karnataka: Death of democracy
India shining as ecosystems die?
Tamil Nadu: The land of the lawless
When death does not deter
Power play at a time of crisis
A country in denial
The gods have left the temples
What cricketers' reactions to ball-tampering show
Even Chhota Bheem knows our data was never private
No Confidence Motion: Why is the BJP nervous?
Do we really have the right to die with dignity?
Democracy has no place for mobs The Sridevi South India lost