It is only recently, that I have started working in the animal protection domain, but the work I do and the impact it creates often leaves me spell-bound. Sometimes, things that spell ‘cruelty’, might seem small and we may even miss them but the impact they could have on those around us something to be extremely weary off.
Recently, I came across one such incident where an environmental studies textbook was asking students to conduct a fatal experiment on cats. Imagine, asking children as young as 9 to suffocate a kitten on the pretext of an experiment to understand the importance of breathing! while, animal rights activists, parents, media and even celebrities, unanimously roared with dissent, my biggest concern was how can we get this removed as soon as possible and how come people had failed to notice it?
Naturally, I too was appalled at the situation and immediately reached out to my fellow animal rights activists to seek their guidance on what can be done. We had to take some action and fast! So, we reached out to the publication house- PP Publications to remove the illegal (and unethical) content advocating for the cruel experiment on kittens.
With the exchange of a few phone calls and emails with the publishing house, we guided them on the laws of the land around animal rights and why the content shared was unlawful (and not to mention, utterly unethical!). We informed them on how killing of an animal is illegal and being cruel to animals is and as defined under Section 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Cruelty or killing is a cognizable offence under Section 428 and Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code.
After waiting for what seemed like days and many more discussions later, the publication agreed to the absurdity and apologised for the misleading content with a written regret, committing to the following:
- Immediate withdrawal of the publication from the distributors
- To not sell from the existing stock
- Not reprint the same content for the next academic year
- To be mindful of things published about animals, especially something unethical and illegal and be regardful of people’s sentiments
You can read the full letter here (http://www.fiapo.org/newsandevents/letter-from-p-p-publications)
As a part of the unanimous voice for animal rights in India, I believe in the sanctity of respecting all life forms, and strongly believe that the seeds of compassion be planted in young minds, early on in childhood. Hence, with utter humility, I request all you parents, teachers, institutions, corporates and everybody else, to please be mindful of any such discrepancies in our educational bodies, immediately take action against anyone violating the laws and spread awareness about the same to your friends, family and network, so that situations likes these can be avoided in future. Remember, it is the moral duty of each one of us to stand up and speak against what we believe is wrong. While, things may look too straitjacketed or difficult to change, we still must fight for what we believe in!
You can visit www.fileanfir.fiapo.org for more information on the animal protection laws of India.
At the end, I’d like to close with my favourite quote-
“Compassion is the basis of morality.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer