Bengaluru: India is a country known for its tradition and culture. Animals always had respect and a special place in the heart of every Indian. The increasing number of people moving towards large urban areas is disrupting India’s cultural ethos, but also the food sustainability and animal welfare of the nation. The tradition of raring a pet at every home always provided a basis for the core values of individuals and enabled every member in the family to reduce their anxiety and stress. But gone are the days when you will find a pet in every home. When asked about this lack of a pet in their homes, urban youth opined that pets are unhygienic, cause noise pollution, dangerous and some even said few animals spread evil! These myths and the changes in lifestyle keep the Indian youth away from animal welfare.
When asked about their attitude towards the usage of animals in celebrations and their reaction to hit and run cases in India, they remained silent. Hit and run cases in the country, can be booked under two categories: Section 279 or 304(A) of Indian Penal code and also under 134A and 134B of Indian Motor Vehicle (IMV) Act. But are animals included in these sections? How many cases have been filed in the country in this regard? Amidst their silence they admit they often they see stray dogs and other animals seriously injured or dead from road accidents. For them animal welfare is all about a pet that will accompany them for walks when you are lonely.
Food security, sustainability, public health and animal welfare are not the favored topics of discussion among the youth today, rather they engage themselves in conversing about technology and the issues associated with it. Love for animals have to be created among the present generation to protect our species. We have seen the extinction of the Asiatic lion, Snow Leopard, Black Buck, Red Panda and many more but still the initiatives from the government, academic bodies, NGOs and other organizations are minimal or completely absent.
All need to understand that animal production and animal welfare are inextricably linked with the nation’s social, economic and environment aspects. The world is filled with endangered species. Many of these can be found in India. Some of these species are sometimes threatened with serious epilepsy.
Educational institutions can play a vital role in creating awareness and imbibing animal sensitivity among the youth by organizing open discussions, seminars, symposiums and debates on the subject. Parents and teachers must encourage them to provide food to animals in the animal welfare shelters. The media also need to cover animal welfare activities and possibilities in a more meaningful and interesting way. Thereby they too can contribute to securing environmental and economic sustainability and promote social justice in the country.
Above all, youth who take care of animals or saves the lives of animals must be recognized with awards in their schools, society and even by the government of India. Why can’t this category be included in the category of national bravery awards to encourage the youth?
(This article is written by Juby Thomas, Assistant Professor, Kristu Jayanti College Bangalore. Juby has 5 years of teaching experience and an industry exposure across diverse media platforms like Journalism, Photojournalism and Public Relations. She holds the credit for numerous articles published nationally and internationally in Newspaper, Magazine and Online Media. Also published 8 research articles in reputed journals and attended several national and international seminars where she presented 14 research papers and won 2 best paper awards)