There's actually a day for animals! - The New Indian Express

There's actually a day for animals!

Published: 05th October 2013 09:16 AM

Last Updated: 05th October 2013 09:16 AM

This Friday may have been World Animal Day, but the city barely registered a difference in it’s treatment towards animals. Granted, the current political turmoil may have overshadowed the cause, but it doesn’t change the fact that as people we need to show more compassion to our four-legged and feathered friends, among others. While true animal and pet lovers point out that one day cannot and will not solve the problem of animal cruelty, sometimes all it takes is just that one day.

So what does observing World Animal Day mean to anyone? The day October 4 was marked to commemorate the Feast Day of St.Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. It was first observed in 1931 at a convention of ecologists to draw attention to the plight of endangered species, but has since become a day for animals in general.

For animal lovers in the city, this day presents an opportunity to educate public and create an awareness against cruelty to animals, which is the need of the hour. “There are number of issues concerning the welfare of animals today that need to be addressed, the simplest of them being shooing stray dogs with stones. And the solution isn’t something that is not achievable. If each of us show some compassion and treat them with love and respect, there will not be any issues,” said B Padmaja of Caring Hands for Animals, a city-based NGO.

Be it the sight of hens hung upside down while being transported for slaughter or bright green parrots being prodded and cajoled to pick a card by soothsayers, Padmaja believes such torture and trauma to animals can only be stopped with a balanced approach between the government and alert citizens.

Only a couple of days ago, a boxer puppy was left at the door step of her animal shelter at Shamshabad, which according to Padmaja, goes to show that even fancy breeds -- which many consider are insured from ill-treatment -- are being abandoned by their owners. “The puppy that was brought to us has been suffering from a ‘parvo’ virus infection and it’s abandonment only points out how animal owners disown their pets when they become a burden,” she said, adding that dogs being territorial, get affected psychologically on being abandoned, taking months to recover.

This isn’t the first time Padmaja has come across an abandoned pet; in fact she states it is becoming a frequently occurring case. “I knew of a miniature Pomeranian dog which had developed an ulcer in the eye and was abandoned by its owners. Having fancy pets has become more of a status symbol than anything and pet owners fail to understand and prepare themselves for the different requirements these breeds come with. It is really tragic.”

Another pet lover, Madhulika emphasises that treating animals right is a huge step in the right direction. “Pets need to be treated like family. They have fitness needs, require medical attention and even companionship. Adopting them cannot be just impulsive, a lot of thought process needs to go in.” 

Echoing similar views is Sarvani Chowdary, an animal activist. With many pet adoption drives happening in the city, another common phenomenon that has cropped up is the social media syndrome.

 “It’s a prissy modern tantrum to adopt a dog, take a picture and post it on the many social media websites. There’s more to taking in a dog.”

She was also quite skeptical about a World Animal Day being ‘celebrated’. “Thousands of stray dogs die everyday in the city. How many of us are generous enough to show a bit of respect for them? And what are we observing? Just a day will not change anything,” says the lady who feeds at least 40 stray dogs outside her home everyday.

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