There are thousands of instances of humans taking animals out of their habitat, putting them in a cage, using them for entertainment and finally slogging them to death.
With technological and scientific growth of the human race, you now have genetic modification and other such things being added to the long list of atrocities we inflict on animals; because some of us can’t get over our need for aesthetic pleasure and being entertained.
Here are some disturbing examples of the same.
1. Preserving the bodies of dead animals through taxidermy for using them as a prop for fashion shoots.
There is a 17th-century country house in England, called Aynhoe Park, that has preserved animals through taxidermy (the ‘art’ of preserving an animal’s body by stuffing) and they are now either sold for exorbitant prices or used as a prop for photoshoots.
From an alligator waiter to a giraffe balloon-lifted to the ceiling, you will find a ‘collection of art’ that the owners take a lot of pride in.
Even though claims are made that these animals died a natural death, we never really know if that was the case. Either way, scooping their insides, stuffing their bodies, hanging them like a balloon and then posing against it, is plainly insensitive and disrespectful.
2. Genetically modifying animals to turn them into more striking pets.
Until some time back, a certain kind of fish- Zebra fish- could only be found in its natural habitat in India and Bangladesh. Its beautiful golden and dark blue stripes made it exotic and that is when the problem started.
In a first for USA, a Texas-based company modified them into a new kind of genetically engineered fluorescent fishes called GloFishes, that are now sold as pets to be kept in small aquariums inside big houses of privileged humans.
Dogs have also been subjected to painful mutations by people for various purposes.
3. Using animals for various sports that people pay to watch.
Cockfighting and horse racing are only some of the examples of animals being trained to fight and participate in competitive sports. Safe to say, they do not enjoy it. At all.
For instance, horse racing, the multi-million dollar industry functions on horses that are mostly treated very badly.
They are whipped, made to wear uncomfortable saddles, forced to run at a certain speed and ultimately sold to the slaughterhouses at the end of their careers.
When injured, they are given drugs so that they keep running which leads to breakdowns and nausea because they are made to do things against the will and capacity of their bodies.
4. Making animals dance and perform for an audience and not providing them with even the basic facilities.
In a very common practice in our country, monkeys are chained to a pole or a cycle and made to dance for people who sometimes pay for the act; but mostly not.
These monkeys are kept in conditions that can only be termed unfortunate, as the ‘owners’ don’t even have enough money to feed their own families, let alone the animals.
Another example of this are circuses. The tigers jumping through fire hoops makes for great entertainment for a lot of people, who don’t know that tigers are inherently scared of fire.
They are trained to perform, over the years, by being kept in restrained places and tiring practice sessions.
5. Using animals as props in plays and movies.
With increased awareness around the topic, big production houses have started paying attention towards proper care of animals who are involved in shooting.
But the question is, do the animals want to perform at all? Do they want to give takes? Do they WANT to be on the stage and perform in a certain way?
6. Dressing up animals and using them as objects for begging purposes.
Elephants and monkeys are frequently used as objects to get people’s attention, for begging purposes.
They are usually dressed up in a disturbing manner (monkeys in Indonesia are made to wear creepy doll faces) and made to work for long hours without hydration and proper care.
This often proves to be fatal for the animals, who are then thrown away only to be replaced by a new one who goes through the same torture.
7. Tourists entering natural habitat of animals and harassing them for selfies and pictures.
Most of us want to be noticed on social media and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there are so many cases of people going overboard with this obsession by clicking pictures with animals, leaving them in a state of shock and often dead.
In a bid to ‘have a closer look’, people also enter their habitat and when attacked, kill the animals with modern weapons.
This is exactly what happened when a polar bear was shot and killed after it attacked a guard from a cruise ship that had stopped at an Arctic archipelago last month.
8. Using sick and wounded animals for performances and rides in weddings.
Last month, three ‘wedding horses’ were recovered from Delhi’s Nangloi area because they were in a bad state of health, physically and mentally.
The animals used to give rides during the weddings are often kept in bad conditions and tied with ropes so small that even normal movements are impossible.
They are often found wounded as the horse providers use spiked bits to keep them still and silent amid all the noise and chaos.
9. Making animals dance and keeping them in closed spaces in amusement parks and zoos.
Animals in these places are deprived of movement and social interaction, which leads to premature deaths.
A lot of times, the space they are provided is so small that they end up killing each other. In addition to that, marine animals like dolphins are made to dance for people’s entertainment when they really don’t even have space to swim.
10. Hunting animals for recreational purposes.
Trophy hunting- as they call it- is still legal in many countries, leading to decline in numbers of animals.
Not to mention, the pain they go through is immense. Quick kills in these cases can be rare with an animal like deer suffering for more than 15 minutes before it dies.
In one such gruesome incident, a hunter named Walter Palmer shot and killed the Zimbabwe’s black mane beauty named ‘Cecil the lion’, skinned it and took its head for a prize. The authorities said Palmer had a permit so he was not charged with any crime.
11. Using animals for tourism without caring for their well-being.
Recently, a baby elephant in Thailand collapsed from exhaustion after it was made to carry tourists. It was around 1 year old and carrying 2 adults on its back. A video from Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens showing it collapsing from exhaustion and later getting up on its feet after encouragement from its mother later went viral.
Animals can’t speak for themselves. We can. And so it’s OUR responsibility to give voice to their right of living a free and healthy life.