The beautiful southern state of Kerala has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. While Animal Rights activists claim that there is wanton culling of thousands of strays across the state, the State Government remains adamant that they have given orders to rabid dogs which pose a danger to the human population. The case remains shrouded in mystery and both sides allege that the other side is being unreasonable.
Is the government telling the truth? Are the Animal Activists crying wolf? By virtue of the fact that I am not only an avid supporter of Animal Rights, but also a Keralite, let us now examine the morbid reality of the situation which is occurring in Kerala.
The ground reality as can be seen is this. Yes, there is an increase in the population of stray dogs in Kerala. Yes, there have been cases where dogs have become aggressive towards children and adults. However, the rebuttal that these dogs have been suffering is far worse. They are being culled by the thousands.
However, the Government insists that all this is an attempt to besmirch the name of God’s Own Country (sic). In fact, just a couple of days ago, the Kerala Tourism Minister rubbished reports about the alleged culling and said that the popular yet infamous Social hash tag #BoycottKeralaTourism is based on misinformation.
The ‘Boycott Kerala Campaign’ was started by the Animal Welfare Board of India after an All Party Meeting in Kerala led to a decision being taken to cull all aggressive dogs. Their decision is based on hard facts, and the cause of the Activists has data on its side. As per the report of the Ernakulum General Hospital, of the 1,074 dog bite cases reported at the hospital this year, pet dogs were the culprits in 75.6% of cases. Also, the legal language used in the decision to kill dogs is extremely flawed. It is very ambiguous and leaves it upon the person to decide whether to kill a dog or not. It gives undue protection to those people who simply want to kill a dog because it bared its teeth or barked loudly.
The sad truth is, animals are treated without respect and fairness throughout our country. They are subject to the most inhumane of conditions, and most spend their life living in constant derogation. The decision of the Kerala government caters to a populist viewpoint. A viewpoint which feels that moral turpitude is a small price to pay for appeasing a certain section of society.
On the other hand, there have been allegations that this campaign of the Animal Rights activists is racist in nature and that they simply hate South Indians. While there may have been rare instances of racial stereotyping by small minded individuals, the very fact that I and thousands of other Malayalees, inside and outside the state, strongly voice our dissent for the Government’s decision to cull stray dogs is enough to lay rest to these rumors.
The basic problem herein is the fact that instead of focusing on long term measures like identity tagging of dogs and sterilization, the State has decided to exterminate the dogs, while happily ignoring any moral obligation it might have had to these sentient beings. With a view to appease the society, the state has decided to take the easier road, however wrong it might be.
The moral debauchery that they are committing is intrinsically wrong. You don’t need to be an Animal lover to understand this simple fact. Indeed, if they follow through with this, one feels that this decision of theirs would soon come back to bite haunt them.