Monday, October 19, 2015

Compassion for animals

Another kitten is missing and she was such a cute one.

Like earlier, the mother cat used our flat to give birth and as soon as they were old enough she took them out with her. One disappeared (killed?) during our vacation while Fluffy somehow survived and she became very comfortable around us. This must have been one reason why it was easy to get rid of her too :( .
The reason for the hatred is understandable since she sometimes dirtied the apartment premises though she would have learned to go outside like the rest after a while. Did the best to clean the mess myself but someone decided to end it all. At times like that I just cannot understand humans at all. How one could hurt such an adorable animal. Is it out of fear or plain hatred? Is it because one lacks compassion?

While growing up during times when shops with cold storage facilities were a rarity, Father used to bring home hens, ducks etc. hoping to see them on the table as a tasty dish, but more often it ended up being adopted and Mother too joined the children’s team.  This must have happened in many households. The longer it stayed around, the more chance for its survival and Father tried his best to ensure this did not happen. It is not as though Father lacked compassion but he was only being himself. As for us children, nothing stopped us from eating what was cooked. Did we not learn to be compassionate? Tough questions to answer.
Early humans adopted many animals and many were killed for sustenance. He reared some animals only for its meat and must have developed some sort of relationship with them until it was killed. It must be his survival instinct kicking over his compassionate side? China has no compassion for dogs since they love the meat. Cats too face the same situation and not just in China.


In Switzerland the private consumption and slaughter of dog and cat meat is permitted though its commercial trade is prohibited by law. A 1993 petition to ban consumption failed with the government declaring the matter a "personal ethical choice." In June 2008, three students at the Danish School of Media and Journalism published pictures of a cat being slaughtered in Citat, a magazine for journalism students. Their goal was to create a debate about
animal welfare. The cat was shot by its owner, a farmer, and it would have been put down in any case. The farmer slaughtered the cat as well, all within the limits of Danish law. This led to criticism from Danish animal welfare group Dyrenes Beskyttelse.[11][12] and death threats received by the students.[13]

In February 2010, on a television cooking show, the
Italian food writer Beppe Bigazzi mentioned that during the famine in World War II cat stew was a "succulent" and well known dish in his home area of Valdarno, Tuscany. Later he claimed he had been joking, but added that cats used to be eaten in the area during famine periods, historically; he was widely criticised in the media for his comments and ultimately dropped from the television network.[14]

Cats were sometimes eaten as a
famine food during harsh winters, poor harvests, and wartime. Cat gained notoriety as "roof rabbit" in Central Europe's hard times during and between World War I and World War II.[15][not in citation given][16][not in citation given]

In 18th-century Britain, there are a few records of cats eaten as a form of entertainment.
Source : Wikipedia

India took a different approach towards another animal which gave much to him. Cows have always been an integral part of the Indian household and it being a very demure animal, easily invoked the compassion in us. But compassion seemed not enough to keep it from being killed and hence it was turned into God. Religion always managed to have the last say and people listened better.

Not killing animals is a very noble idea indeed. I would love to live in a world where such noble ideas are possible. But it is wishful thinking. 

But if all those noble ideas stops you from being compassionate to your neighbor  or from someone from your own species, then what nobility is one talking about?

Enough rambling for today but it is a video of a cat being beaten to death and the recent beef issue that brought me to this blog.
The beef issue is more politics than anything else but religion can make people sit up and pay more attention than it deserves. India sells more beef and it consumes much too. I do not think it is easy to change this fact.
Let me end this with an excerpt from another blog, copied without permission.

As I boarded the Rajdhani express from New Delhi for Parasnath for my intended visit to Jharkhand the co-passenger in the side seat was a young boy from IIT Delhi who happened to belong to Jain community and was visiting to Parasnath for religious rituals that his parents were performing. During the conversation he said that he is a vegetarian but definitely respect people’s right to eat non-veg food. He opined that the world was changing and that a business community cannot be confined to narrow partisan and outdated thoughts that look down upon others who have different take on the issue. World is too diverse and as a global citizen you will have to respect people’s personal choices to food and drink he said during the conversation. The boy laughed when I said don’t he think that Jains are hypocrite as the biggest meat-beef exporters in India are Jains and Marwadis. His position was that we are in business and need to whatever is good but at the same point of time narrow attitude may be damaging for future of their business. It was a happier togetherness in the train for nearly 12 hours where I found how the Jain youngsters are changing and feel that their community needs to move beyond if it has to remain in business
Source : Manuski

Thursday, August 27, 2015


This time we made another trip to Gavi. It was a decision made at the spur of the moment between cousins. Too much planning can sometimes kill the plan itself.  In year 2013 we went to Gavi from Vandiperiyar and hence missed the road through the thick forest. We were told that this road from Pathanamthitta, via Seethathode needs either the KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) bus or a vehicle with a high ground clearance. None wanted their vehicles tested and hence we decided on KSRTC. Besides, only a certain number of vehicles are given passes each day and one need to obtain this in advance. We were three families and decided to move from Thiruvalla at least by 5 AM to reach Pathanamthitta in time to catch the bus that leaves at by 6:30. Getting families out of the house in time is no small task but we did manage to reach Pathanamthitta to see the bus about to leave. While the men went to find a parking space for the cars, we ran to catch seats. To our dismay we found that the bus was almost full with only a few seats empty. Initially one thought they were all heading to Gavi, but later realized that this was an ordinary bus that would be stopping enroute to Gavi.

The children had to stand for a while and a certain family selfishly occupied a seat which otherwise could have been shared. The bus left in time and the ride early in the morning was too good. Fresh air, light drizzling and low traffic set the right mood for the trip. The bus halted for 15 minutes at Angamuzhi for breakfast. The choice was Kerala Paratha and curry or Appam and egg. The bathroom was also clean for such a small town hotel. We devoured what was ordered while keeping an eye on the Driver and Conductor, lest they left us behind!

After almost 2 decades of not getting an opportunity, the KSRTC bus made me feel like meeting an old pal! The same old seats and paraphernalia. When it started raining my hands went up automatically to loosen the clasps that held the shutters. And down it came with a crash...the familiar sound felt like music to my ears. Silly me! When you lift it back, it needs to be done in such a way that keeps it balanced, else getting the clasp back in place will need some more tinkering. But for me, it happened like old times J
Two buses trying to negotiate on the narrow road
The ride was too good because of the passing scenery even when the road turned bumpy and when the branches kept knocking the sides and the passengers. These branches were also dropping strange bugs and insects. The road for almost 25 km seems not to have seen no tar since it was first laid! It is almost a four hour trip but I never felt it so.
We got down at the main center at Gavi, only to realize that it was open only to those who have pre-booked.
This was done since tourists were harassed for their camera and other stuff. One can pre-book either a day trip or stay over program. Details are provided on the KFDC website.
Luckily we found a jeep which took us to Kochu Pampa where the government has developed a second place for the rest. They have a snack bar and boat rides too. Since it was lunch time and stomachs (plenty of them!) started grumbling, the men folks made use of the jeep to fetch lunch from a canteen a little away. Meanwhile the rest of us went for the boat ride.  If one is not pre-booking, it is better to bring along some food. The canteen is a little far away and there are no other shops close by and you may have to be satisfied with packaged  juice, biscuits etc. from the snack bar.

The captain of our boat.. Unni

We did see an elephant and wild buffaloes during our trip. We also got to hear about the tragic death of two Gujarati tourists early in 2015. Seems the lady was so engrossed in taking photographs that she failed to heed the warning calls of the rest. When everyone else managed to run away from the Tusker, she continued clicking photos. She was trampled to death instantaneously while the husband who came to her rescue was thrown away and a tree stump went through his neck. This happened very close to the main road.  Wild animals ought to be treated as wild and sometimes one may feel bold, but one can never be sure when they may get irritated.  The following video shows that elephants can be a common sight in Gavi, specially during summer when they move around for water. It is always better to be cautious while enjoying wild life.
The same bus returns from Vandiperiyar around 3 PM. We managed seats this time since it was quite empty. We reached Pathanamthitta around 7 PM. 
One needs to appreciate the driver and conductor of this trip who manages such a precarious route and on a daily basis. As for the driver, while driving his eyes also scans the horizon for wild animals and does not hesitate to stop so that one can see them and photograph them.  Luckily we did not see any very close :)


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