Paw and order: The act of killing

Recently Kerala, a southern state in India, has ordered the mass slaughter of rabid stray dogs. This was after government officials made panicky and untrue statements about their menace. And for the past two months, stray dogs (not just the rabid ones) have been mercilessly hunted down.

The State government’s reaction has been an expected one. Some of the authorities are claiming ignorance. While others – fabricating the truth. A few are talking about vaccination drives and exporting dog meat as practical solutions.


The general public has been aghast. Photographs of bloodied stray dogs ferried on bikes. Poisoned carcasses piled up for disposal. They have spread like wild fire. And people are speaking out against it on many platforms. The media agencies have been miffed about it. They are enabling readers, viewers and subscribers to call for action.

I am sure that you, dear reader, think it is both a tragedy and a travesty too. I certainly do. How dare the State behave so brutishly? What in the blue planet were they thinking when they found it fit to kill the problems they create?

Here’s another question – exactly how much do we care? How much we think we should care is a different matter altogether.

Credit: Pinterest

I am not talking about having the time to volunteer at animal shelters or publicly address animal cruelty.  Just how much respect do we have for the life of another species? Is it enough for us to feel their pain like we can within our own? Or so little that we remain mute spectators while they are being subject to the very worst of humanity?

In a film called A Time To Kill, the protagonist – a white lawyer – defends a black man for killing someone who kidnapped and raped his teenage daughter. In his closing argument, he urges a primarily white jury to close their eyes and listen to the graphic details of the heinous crime. Towards the end of the recital, he says “I want you to picture that little girl. Now imagine she’s white”. It humanized the act of revenge by making the jury admit their prejudices to themselves. As the story goes, the verdict was in favour of the black man.

Now let us imagine if the State decided to kill all the homeless people in its area because of the problems they allegedly presented. Picture this – battered corpses of men and women left to rot in open spaces. Uncivilized rogues looming over frightened urchins with machetes and clubs.

Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter

Each one of us would be aghast. The Internet would blow up. But the only difference being – something will come of it.


I think it’s because as much as we care about other species we don’t respect them enough. It is why most of us can stand idly and watch stray animals being subject to unimaginable cruelty. We may consider their lives to be valuable too; just not enough to be appalled by the forces that unjustly claim them.

I am not removing myself from the problem. While I may believe that culling of stray animals is the equivalent of ethnic cleansing, I am merely writing a blog about it. I am painfully aware that it is going to make any sort of difference to the stray dogs in Kerala.

I hope though that we talk to the children in our respective communities about the important of harmonious living.  The humanity of treating those different from us like we would our own.


Our verandas
have turned into
killing fields, and
our minds – open graves;
there’s no love
in the air, there’s
none of it, in suitable
proportions, anywhere.

(Photographs – Kodaikanal / Megamalai /  Sourced online)

32 thoughts on “Paw and order: The act of killing

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  1. Dear Versherder I have read your blog. This time has to come, this is also not so say that I agree with culling of stray dogs , but believe me – this protection was granted to them (aka dogs) by Mrs Meneka Gandhi. It has become a problem of proportions you cannot even believe. Stray dogs and cats have wiped clean a lot of wildlife and fauna in the country side. Please see the data of stray dog bites in cities and villages – it is unbelievable. Just because they have the hallo of being pets – we have overlooked the plight of that – that we cannot see. I will not say that this is right or wrong but they have become a menace of epic proportions in out cities and villages.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I see your points and I do not dispute the claims that they do present “problems”. Wiping them out mercilessly isn’t the solution by any means. Allocating a state or national budget to enhance sterilisation or vaccination drives sounds like a more rational and less heinous thing to do.

      It’s the callousness of deciding authorities to brutally do away with their presence, without an ounce of humanity is the matter I am horrified by. It certainly isn’t because they look cute or are loyal. It’s far simpler than that. They are living beings. And for a country that vociferously disputes the death penalty, it sure is quiet when other species are involved.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! I’m speechless. Your post is beautifully written – your thoughts on how most of society doesn’t respect animals is spot on. I hope this post sheds more light on the killings and something is done. Kudos to you for trying to be part of a humane solution!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, dear friend. I hope people read a little more on the matter after stumbling upon this post.

      I don’t think I am a solution by any stretch of the imagination but I would be glad if I shed light, any sort.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My heart soars to read this and its unimaginable to gauge the pain that has been inflicted on these innocent creatures. Just because they are helpless, doesn’t make it an opportunity for these callous ‘humans’ (apparently) to slaughter them.
    Everyone has a right to live and let live, sadly some people misuse the privilege!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heartbreaking indeed anya. It’s frightening to think that their pain goes unheard just because they don’t communicate in ways we fully understand.

      For instance so many in sultry parts of india are in possession of breeds such as St Bernards and Huskies – dogs that suffer every day from the heat. Their owners remain proud because they look “cute”, not understanding the daily pains these poor creatures go through.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s terrifying.
    I get that some can be a menace but that’s what an animal shelter is for. :/
    Some strays are the most loving dogs I’ve ever met. Even people who adopt strays as well as bred dogs, have often said stray dogs are more loving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the sad things is that so many of these shelters barely have adequate funding to provide basic amenities to the injured animals. People back them up more for photo opportunities rather than sustainable support.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Export feral dogs as meat? (Yuck, gag, ugh ,,,!!!???)

    However, if you give them a a bulk discount, I imagine China might be a market. Maybe the only market … However China is almost a third of the world’s population. If you tell them it has aphrodisiac properties even more markets might become available. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One would think that a primate species with such a big cortex and abilities to collude and work together could be capable of something better… I don’t know of the solution, but clearly this shouldn’t be one of them. ‘Ethnic cleansing’ is the only description I could think to describe it as well. Great post, Christy, even if it made me a bit sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We are no different from the Chinese who kill dogs and eat them. I have seen these pictures earlier and felt very sad. As you say, we can’t do anything but write about them. We humans want this earth just for ourselves (to destroy)…no birds, no animals, no butterflies…just us machines without heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. a powerful and courageous post that is making a difference in human perception. thank you for standing up for what you care about.

    respect for all life. why do we humans have such difficulty with such a simple idea?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for writing tio, it’s an incomprehensible situation. Why indeed. I wonder if our system of sustenance will be the ruin of every other species to the extent that life itself disappears.


  9. Time and time again, I have to remind myself that I must speak up against this. Agree wholeheartedly on the topic, and the slant. I have a dog who’s the offspring of a stray we adopted. She had 7 pups in the only litter she did have, and all of them were given away to families who promised to care for them, except the alpha male, which is my boy, Kuttan. I still see, and acknowledge many strays, in and around where I live, and work, and near my parents’ place. Somehow they have escaped the madness that has prevailed, it would seem, elsewhere in my state. I’m aghast, and wonder what I can do.
    At every opportunity, in school, I keep telling the kids this, in the hope that somehow, at least this generation that is to come, will be more humane.
    Sad sad days for them.

    Liked by 1 person

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