God’s own country (India) is now dog’s own hell
Most of the Indian cities complain about rise in stray animal population. While in cities like Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, monkey menace troubles public, in Kerala, it has always been about stray dogs.
A few days back, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy held a all-party meeting in Thiruvananthapuram to address the unchecked increase in stray dog population and increasing number of dog bite cases. The solution that the Kerala government came out was stunningly insensitive for animal lovers and animal welfare organizations. The Kerala government agreed on hacking stray dogs to death labeling them as aggressive and a threat to people, especially kids.
The government came under pressure after people held a rally express their anger over 14 cases of dog bites in single day. The government reported about 90,000 dog bite cases in the state in 2014-2015. While, government specified that only rapid dogs will be culled, it’s a well known truth that despite ban Kerala continued to kill stray dogs. Now, the government have taken a decision to make it legal. The government assured that only rapid dogs will be culled, however,this will only legalize and fuel mass slaughtering of dogs and nothing else.
The state of Kerala isn’t prepared to implement standard procedure for euthanization. That mean local authorities and people will be free to kill them however they can, with whatever they can.
According to statistics provided by the Ernakulam General Hospital, the government report is misleading. Out of 1,074 dog bite cases registered at the hospital showed that in 75.6% cases pet dogs were responsible. Only 262 cases of stray dog bite were reported. The data is quite relevant as the Ernakulam hospital handles the highest number of dog bite cases per day in the district. Therefore, the data from other hospitals is less likely to tell a different story.
Root cause of stray dog menace
Littering, open garbage piles, availability of high meat and food waste is the root cause of dog menace in Kerala. It’s the same with Shimla City – open disposal and littering of food waste. Dogs come after food waste. Otherwise, dogs do not have any business in cities or around human habitat. They aren’t evil.
These animals stay and breed where they get food. The government isn’t able to work on the root cause. Commenting on why culling stray dogs is a permanent solution to end dog menace, Dr Kishore Kumar K J, veterinary surgeon with Kochi Corporation, states:
“Unless issues of garbage and irresponsible dog owners are addressed, there will be no solution to the issue. The (dog) carrying capacity of a city like Kochi is very high because of the food and meat waste made available to canines from homes, streets and slaughter houses. Trying to wipe out the dog population from a particular area will not help as new ones will keep occupying the territory. The only scientific way to control the population is by slowly bringing down their numbers through animal birth control programmes and by setting up an effective waste management system.”
It’s been over two decades that Kerala has been complaining of street dog menace, but the government could not implement ethical means for population control and rehabilitation. The cities are littered and generate huge amount of food waste as compared to rural areas of India. Eradication of improper food waste disposal habits should have been the first priority of the government.
That is the reason why this controversial decision to cull street dogs of Kerala has stirred protest among animal activists and organizations. An online campaign ‘worldwide boycott Kerala movement 2015’ has also gained momentum.
The campaign calls for boycotting ‘Kerala as tourism destination and its products’ until this unethical decision isn’t scraped.
“God’s own country is now dog’s own hell” is the campaign slogan, which indeed, does make sense. A worldwide protest against the killing of voiceless animals is scheduled on July 26. People are being requested by activists to gather in their respective cities at 10 a.m. on the decided day to support the cause.
Online petitions are also circulating in social media websites. People can sign one of these petitions on websites like Change. Org.
Why only cities complaint of rise in stray dog population?
Man’s best friend has now become a menace for modern India. In Indian villages, stray dogs are common. Both humans and dogs live in harmony. The dogs visit village houses everyday and people will feed them. No one owns these dogs but still they aren’t menace. Rather, these dogs work as watchman for other animals like monkeys and wild boars who invades cultivated land and destroy crops.
However, urbanized, modern Indian cities do not have any place for dogs. In fact, modern society is evolving as community of self-centered individuals. The cities aren’t sensitive enough towards humans, so dogs stand no chance, no matter how innocent animals they are.
It’s true that dog bite cases and cases of rapid dogs agitate people. It’s also true that stray dogs are breeding and the population is rising. A gang of dogs roaming on the Shimla Mall or a dog fight in the middle of a Thiruvananthapuram is an unpleasant scene.
Indian government has released hundreds of thousands of crores for animal birth control and rehabilitation programs during past couple of decades. However, the number of stray animals still continue to rise. Cows and bulls are the recent additions after the beef ban in Indian states. The government decided to ban beef without making adequate arrangement for cow shelters.
On the other hand Himachal Pradesh is facing a duo of problem – rising monkey menace and increase in stray dog population. The sterilization programs failed miserably due to wide spread corruption in Himachal’s official machinery.
Recently, PETA had visited a monkey sterilization centre in Shimla after complaints of cruel treatment of captured monkeys brought for sterilization. PETA had no difficulty getting a stay on monkey sterilization with evidences it collected about the alleged cruelty.
The biggest error is to avoid the root cause. Stray animals invade cities and make it their habitat because Indian urban spaces are littered with food and meat waste. On Singapore roads, there are no dogs because there is nothing for them, no open piles of domestic and commercial waste. Developed countries are litter-free, thus, free of stray animals.
Image Credit : The Hindu/CNN/Himachal Watcher