I am not an animal activist or a passionate animal lover. I don’t take billboards and take part in protests; I don’t endorse veganism. I don’t even pet cats or dogs, apart from an occasional rubbing with a one-arm distance. But, today I am furious, probably angrier than an animal activist. A depressing event in my neighbourhood left me no choice but to question the callousness of our so-called educated society. A poor domestic animal, fully pregnant, about to give birth in two or three weeks, collapsed dead.
With eyes wide open and bowlful belly, it lay motionless. The belly was much larger and it couldn’t be moved an inch because of its weight. At first, no one could figure out what had happened. I remember praying it had lost its consciousness and would move in minutes. But it didn’t. It died, rather “tragically.” Yes, even cows could die of heart attack. Because of its size, it had to be sliced to give it a proper burial. Alas! Apart from the baby, its stomach was pregnant with plastic waste and poop-filled diapers which the neighbours have littered in undisturbed fields. Diapers and plastic had caused indigestion, causing it to dangerously bloat. It couldn’t excrete the poisonous waste nor vomit it. It was stuck in its gut, only to have it brutally taken out after ‘the end’.
I am not putting our neighbours in a bad light, because I see them every day struggling to find time to keep their life moving with a cranky 6-month- old baby. If only they had disposed of the plastic waste properly, this tragedy wouldn’t have happened. A little extra effort, a humble concern for your fellow beings should come out of education.
For the first time I felt compassion towards my fellow living being, whose life I felt was as important as the human kind. The fact that tens of thousands of animals die every year after being entangled or eating plastic is terrible. The fact that it was fully pregnant, with a healthy life inside, made my heart sore, a pain I cannot breathe out. Every time I look at the place it is buried, I look at the plantain trees giving shade to a mother and child. I imagine a playful calf running around its mother.