Straight Bat: The Curious Case Of Killing Dogs
On Oct 31, 2016
The killing of stray dogs has been a hot issue for some time now, so much so that it has literally split public opinion down the middle. The attack of a 90-year-old man at Varkala by a pack of stray dogs and his subsequent death has given all the more reason for 'activists' to kill stray dogs en masse. Meanwhile 'animal lovers' are condemning the act with a vehemence never seen before.
Over 7,000 ducks were culled in Kuttanad the other day in a move to prevent spread of H5N8 virus. That hardly made news. The 'animal lovers' and their political mouthpiece and Union minister Maneka Gandhi haven't so much as lifted a finger on the issue. Ducks too technically belong to the 'animal' category, and yet no one seems to sympathise with the poor ducks. Maybe it's because humans eat ducks and don't eat dogs.
The real reason seems to be something else. Unlike ducks, or hens or pigs or even cows, dogs, alongside cats have been part of human society, both urban and rural, for a long time now. Dogs regularly appear in every day phrases like 'loyal like a dog', 'every dog has a day' and everyone's favourite - 'man's best friend'.
The term 'man' is correct there, but 'friend'? Hardly. The more apt word would be 'slave'. Dogs are a man's best slave. It will take all punishment and yet remains loyal to its master. It will never ever think of revolting against him. It never seeks anything, has virtually no self-esteem and makes a point not to think of itself. And it is in here that the crux of the matter lies.
Dogs turning against humans are equivalent to a slave turning against the master. It is a rebellion and it has to be put down, with violence, so that a lesson can be taught, a point can be proven, that you never mess with 'the man'.
Yes, the man, the masculine, the left side of the brain that rules the world that demands wars, that relishes cruelty, that oppresses the weak and puts down all form of opposition. It has nothing to do with the gender though, the male and female. It is that distinct trait of humans as a species that considers itself masters of the Earth and wants everything in it under their whims and control.
It is a dangerous trait. It is the trait that gave our world the atom bomb instead of unlimited energy. It is the trait that ensures hunger in a planet of plenty. It is the trait that demands subjugation as a solution.
The killing of dogs for the reason of attacking humans differ from killing of ducks for fear of bird flu in that in case of dogs the act is to prove a point, the point being the unquestioned authority of man over everything else. It is not mere killing; it's actually an act of murder. Yes, care should be taken that no human ever gets mauled by dogs. But killing dogs, murdering them, is not the answer. Those resorting to this are not activists, they are criminals by definition.
The blame is not with these dogs. The blame lies with humans and everyone knows it. Yet the prejudiced mind is always happy to ignore own faults and thrust it on the weak, the mute. That is the case at homes, that is the case at schools, that is the case at offices and that is the case with society.
The time is long past that humans started to live along with the other gifts of nature and cease ruling over it. Killing animals and destroying nature to fulfill the masculine desires are a feature of a bygone era when tyranny and oppression ruled. This is the 21st century, the time of enlightenment, and this act of killing dogs is no way to show our children the path to righteousness. It should stop.
Madan Sivadasan D (MSD)
Contributor to Yentha. He lives in Kochi but his heart beats for his home town Trivandrum. Absolutely no ambiguity on his views or in his writings.