Why animal lovers are silent on Eid or Thanksgiving?
Today, I watched with some surprise two rhesus monkeys (a mother and child, probably) amble casually along the sunshade of my neighbor’s house as I was walking in my yard. One fine day in July, at the height of the Wuhanvirus (Coronavirus) lockdown, I had seen a full-grown peacock perched on the same neighbor’s terrace.
When I was a kid, we used to live close to the vast palace grounds, and then we used to have monkeys come swinging regularly along the treetops, and they would raid our house. We wanted to discourage them, and once we set out a coconut shell with some rice with fish curry hidden underneath, knowing that monkeys avoid anything non-vegetarian.
There are many Gaushalas, though not to make a difference to stray animals. There are people trying to prevent illegal cow-smuggling and slaughter, although these still happen.
Sure enough, a monkey grabbed the rice, but when it smelled the fish on his fingers, he was aghast and started trying to get it off. He started rubbing his paw on the ground, and on cement in his panic, and he did it so hard that his skin was bruised and started to bleed. We were left shaken, thinking about how cruel and inhumane we had been to that poor animal.
And then there was the poor pregnant elephant in May which had her jaw blown off by a cracker hidden inside a pineapple; without going on a rampage in rage, she had gone quietly to the river where she tried to ease her pain by immersing her jaw in the water; and she starved to death with her foetus. There was an outpouring of sympathy from ordinary people; of course, as is usual, the culprits got away.
I was thinking of all this when faux animal-rights supporters of PETA, as well as the usual suspects, started talking about how Diwali crackers were such an annoyance to their dogs.
Anyway, quite obviously, Indians are not perfect stewards of animals. If the large and growing human population encroaches on what should rightly be preserved as the territory of wild animals, and at least half our population consumes meat and fish, and we have the largest number of cattle in the world, as we are heavy consumers of dairy and leather, we couldn’t possibly be perfect.
The Danish government decided to slaughter 17 million minks, that is, its entire population of these small animals that are bred for their fur.
But we are far better in terms of animal husbandry than other countries are. There are many Gaushalas, though not to make a difference to stray animals. There are people trying to prevent illegal cow-smuggling and slaughter, although these still happen.
There are the Bishnois, who have been willing to sacrifice their own lives rather than see an animal suffer. And Hindus, in general, have scriptural prescriptions to be Lacto-vegetarian, though many otherwise devout Hindus may not follow them.
If plant-based meat/fish/milk take off then we’ll all cause less animal suffering. Yet Hindus, in particular, are targeted by do-gooding busybodies such as PETA.
These alleged animal lovers are very silent when millions of animals are regularly butchered on, say, ‘Eid‘, or ‘Thanksgiving‘. It is pure hypocrisy, but they know that Hindus can be shamed into all sorts of things; for instance, the prevailing conventional wisdom is drumming into the heads of all Indians that Diwali must be banned, regardless of the actual facts in air pollution.
This much we have known for a long time. At present a gruesome situation that unfolded itself in Denmark in the last week or so. It startled me. Most of us have a positive impression of Scandinavians. The reality is, alas, far more morbid and gruesome, as it usually is. (WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES).
The Danish government decided to slaughter (news reports used the rather antiseptic euphemism “cull”) 17 million minks, that is, its entire population of these small animals that are bred for their fur. The reason was that a mutant variant of the Wuhanvirus was discovered in some small number of them.
What followed was a true tragedy. Minks, small creatures roughly like otters, have been preyed upon for their fur; they have been farmed to be slaughtered so that women (in particular) can wear coats made of the sleek, smooth coats of the animal. This, when faux fur made of fiber looks just as good.
To give credit where it is due, PETA-type agitations have made natural fur a bit of a no-no in certain circles, there were dramatic protests where people made the fur useless by dumping red paint on it if I remember right. So maybe it will become less fashionable over time, but still, there’s a lot of farmed minks around (thankfully, they are not trapped in the wild in excruciating fashion so much anymore).
All of those who screamed bloody murder about relatively harmless Jallikettu and Kambala in South India, and about Diwali, were thunderously silent.
Not surprisingly (remember the tiger trade) the biggest number of farmed minks are in China (about 20 million), but Denmark has 17 million.
Mink being farmed in Denmark. How can you say “slaughter them” to these faces?
The surprising news a few days ago was that there had been a Wuhan Coronavirus mutation in Danish minks, and there had been as many as 11 infections transmitted to humans in mink farms. The Danish government ordered total extermination of all 17 million minks in the country as a precautionary measure, because, otherwise, said a British academic:
“No, the cull was not unjustified,” he said. “Mainly because of the number of mink infected with COVID-19. The mutation was not really the justification for me. It was the large mink reservoir of COVID-19. I would also mention that minks escape regularly, so you don’t want that risk of infecting the wild animal population, either.”
I may have missed it, but so far as I can tell, there was not a peep out of PETA, or any other animal rights organization. All of those who screamed bloody murder about relatively harmless Jallikettu and Kambala in South India, and about Diwali, were thunderously silent.
That is exactly what they were—thunderously silent—when China burnt its pigs alive after an African Swine Flu epidemic. (WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES AND AUDIO). The Guardian claims as many as 200 million pigs were:
“culled, slaughtered early, or lost to the disease in China.”
These are staggering numbers, 25% of the world’s pigs, according to the NY Times, but there was not much heartburn, nor were there big protests.
In Denmark, the operation was thoroughly botched, as there was no legal provision for it, and the Agriculture Minister had to resign, according to the US’ NPR:
“Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also apologized earlier this week and said the government had not been aware there was no legal basis for its decision. “I do not mean to disregard the law,” she said, according to The Associated Press.
Still, the cull of Denmark’s 17 million farmed minks — which are raised for their fur — continues, and must be completed by midnight Thursday. [Ed: 26th November]”
There are heart-breaking scenes of many of the poor dead critters piled up like many rags.
This just illustrates the traditional Hindu wisdom that we are all in this together; if we put ourselves on a pedestal, as Abrahamics do, then things can go haywire quickly. The Wuhan Coronavirus is itself said to have been transmitted to humans from animals.
Just imagine, what if there are ‘reservoirs’ of Coronavirus in isolated areas even after the proposed mass vaccination of people? Will we just ‘cull’ the infected people, like we did the minks?
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 Generating Meat In Labs: The Technology, Opportunities And The Consequences – Nov 6, 2017, Swarajyamag
 Animals farmed: China swine flu fears, Nigeria pig cull and permits for mega-dairy – Jul 14, 2020, The Guardian
 Why Did One-Quarter of the World’s Pigs Die in a Year? – Jan 1, 2020, NY Times
 Danish Agriculture Minister Resigns Amid Criticism For Ordering Mink Cull – Nov 19, 2020, NPR