Kindness and justice for animals are essential parts of human virtue. They deserve kindness because they are helpless and can not plead their own cause. Cruelty to animals is often due to thoughtlessness and a lack of imagination.
Animals serve us in many ways. The animals that men have bred and trained for their own use and which are often faithful and hard-working servants have a claim on our mercy and justice. We do not take effective steps for their well-being. After exploiting them, they are cruelly killed in old-fashioned and unhygienic slaughter houses. It makes one shudder to think of the torture sheep and oxen have to undergo at the hands of cruel men in slaughter houses. Of course, the wild animals in the forest, being beasts of prey, pounce on man, injuring him with their teeth and claws and causing him great fear. They may sometimes kill us. But in the end, they are savagely killed. There are poachers who shoot an elephant, a tiger, a rhinoceros or snakes for selfish purposes. Snakes and squirrels are skinned alive. The frog’s legs are cut off, leaving the body to die slowly. They kill an elephant, take away its tusks, and sell them for a large amount. They kill a tiger, skin it, and sell the skin for a high price. Tiger bones are said to be powdered and sold in some countries. A rhinoceros is shot, and its horn, which is nothing but a very dense mass of hair, is removed and sold. A peacock is shot for its feathers. How many happy birds are caught and kept in cages to please us with their songs? People do not think about the feelings of those poor creatures. Cruelty and hunting of wild animals and birds is also on the increase. As a result, many of them are on the verge of extinction.
The philosophy of non-violence should not be interpreted as having relevance only to human beings. Man, the most rational of all living beings, is endowed with the sixth sense, and he has the divine quality of mercy. Kindness and compassion are in his nature, and he should put them to proper use. As supreme in the creations of God, he should justify that he is supreme by being kind not only towards his fellowmen but also towards dumb animals and birds. By SHRUTI KHETAN / MARCH 13, 2022