The-Hike-Turned-Harangue: A Look at Animal Cruelty in Chennai

Jerusha Christina Jose, III Year B. V. A. Fine Arts.

In an attempt to capture the afternoon sun’s gaze on the Marina lighthouse, my friend and I walked along the beach with our cameras in search for photo-worthy compositions. It was an extremely hot day and we immediately regretted not bringing extra water, as our supply of water had drastically depleted in the span of the last half an hour.

As we searched the line of tiny shops for water or juice, we spotted a bunch of mats, which my friend considered an interesting composition. I sat on the stone seats as my friend knelt on the ground to get a better shot. Suddenly, she nudged me to show the movement beneath the mats and out popped an adorable monkey, tied to a pole by gypsies, under the cruel Chennai sun.

After observing a series of odd behavior, my friend, who happens to be an animal enthusiast, knew the monkey was thirsty. She made up her mind to use our last few drops of water on the monkey. Knowing that monkeys are unpredictable, she gingerly held out the bottle; the monkey immediately understood her intentions and stretched out his arm to grasp the bottle.

As the scene was very heart rending, I began clicking photos of what was happening. The monkey, oblivious to the sound of the shutter and the camera, eagerly lapped the water. Holding the camera, I silently dreaded the moment he would realize the water, in fact, was all gone. As my friend tried to retrieve the bottle, the monkey held on to it for dear life. Since the gypsies arrived presently and threatened us, we were forced to leave without another chance of helping the poor critter.

By the time we managed to inform the animal activists in that area, the gypsies with their primate prisoners in tow had fled the scene.

The shocking number of cruelty cases reported daily on television, on the Internet and in newspapers is only the tip of the iceberg. Most cases are never reported, and most animal suffering goes unrecognized and unabated.

Unlike violent crimes against people, information on reported cases of animal abuse have not been compiled by state and federal agencies, making it difficult to calculate the prevalence or trends in these crimes.

With human rights, women rights, LGBTQ rights all in the cards, it seems unfair that animals have no concrete rights simply because they don’t have a voice.

I don’t want to give a fancy speech with big flamboyant words to get this message across. I just implore each and every one of you to open your hearts and lend your voice to the ones without one.

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