Who’s the pest?

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

Human beings are a pestilential parasite as far as planet Earth is concerned. According to studies the maximum population that our natural resources can support is around 7 billion and we have already crossed that. Countries like China and India having contributed not a small amount. Even otherwise, as a species, we lie, cheat, kill on a mass scale, abuse our young and eradicate other species in the blink of an eye. We wipe out thousands of hectares of forests in one day, set fire to our lakes after feeding them chemicals, waste almost as much as we consume, destroy the oceans and rivers, melt the arctic ice and glaciers and the list just goes on and on.
We are happy to hunt defenceless animals either for sport or because we have put a value on their bones, teeth, skin or pelt. Sometimes the hunting is just for the sake of it because it makes us feel good to kill something rare and beautiful. The death of Cecil, the lion in Zimbabwe, being an example of such senseless thrill seeking.
And in return, what do we add to the planet? Other than the garbage, of course. One could say that a rare contribution has been the breeding of the dog from the wolf. It is value added, although it was done out of selfishness by humans to provide a working companion for themselves. We have in return received unstinting devotion. Not being wild animals however, dogs cannot survive too well on their own. They have not been bred to do so. All very well for the guys who live comfortable lives in a home. But the stray dogs. in India, inhabit every street and corner, living close to humans, scrounging in garbage bins and sleeping in drains. They are a reflection on society’s failure to take care of those dependent upon it.
PS: The Kerala State Government’s policy of mass culling of stray dogs because of the number of people who have been bitten was a stupid, knee jerk reaction. The latest study shows that a majority of rabies cases in the state were as a result of bites from household pets that had not been inoculated.
LL: It’s not as if the stray dogs come and bite you just for the fun of it. It’s only when idiotic humans harass them that they feel threatened and react.
PS: Most of them tend to be peaceful souls, responding eagerly to a kind word or a biscuit. I love the dogs sprawled out on the steps of shops and banks or on a pavement. They are like a little pool of contentment in the middle of the madness all around. It’s the same with the cows that wander our streets.
LL: Yes but we have brilliant people, like the man from the Indian Institute of Science, in Bhopal, who advised the Kerala Chief Minister to export the strays to China where dog meat is in demand.
PS: And now the local bodies like the Kerala Gram Panchayats have cottoned on to the idea and are actually demanding that they should be allowed to set up dog farms to increase their export earnings!
LL: We should export those people to someplace where humans are eaten! But being rotten to the core, they probably would not bring in any money.
PS: The only solution is really to get rid of human beings altogether. But then again it’s the dogs, poor chaps, who would suffer for it.

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