Animal Trafficking – A Whole Different World

When humans act with cruelty, we characterise them as animals, yet the only animal that displays the utmost cruelty is human.

A few days ago, the illegal transportation of dogs in Nagaland was all over the internet. People were shouting their outrage, their sympathies, their disappointment etc. and were requesting people to share this news as much as possible so that binding action be taken.

This incident showed us that another world exists, which is all different, cruel, made by humans yet so inhumane, and that is that of “animal trafficking” or “wildlife trafficking.”

What is Animal Trafficking?

Animal trafficking is the illegal transportation of animals for commercial purposes. Animals are illegally smuggled to different people, and other vendors are a part of the black market. Based on environmental protection agencies’ estimation, more than 350 million specimens of animals are illegally trafficked yearly, which is worth billions.

Following is the report of the World Wildlife Fund

AnimalNumber of animals leftStatus
African elephants4,15,000Vulnerable
Asian elephants50,000Endangered
White rhinos20,000Near Threatened
Black rhinos5,000Critically endangered

The above table clearly shows the injustice done to animals by humans. Animal trafficking has been increasing even after the continuous reduction in the number of animals left. This is only because a market exists that buys this and thus encourages this.

Smuggling drugs and weapons are not uncommon and have prevailed for years. The same is for the trafficking of animals, but this fails to catch people’s attention and thus is prevailing at its peak, just like I said earlier- it’s a whole different world. People are not that aware of this harsh reality, and those who are, are themselves involved, so expecting action from them would be foolish.

Why Animal Trafficking?

One might wonder why animals are trafficked. This has many possible reasons as different animals are trafficked for different reasons like meat, skin, blood, and bones, though greed still tops the list. The most encouraging factor in this is money. Animal trafficking is riskier than other illegal products, as animals can attack the carrier to set itself free. Thus, the vendors’ risk attracts a good amount of money, and humans are always greedy for more. When one brother is ready to kill the other for money, why will they spare an animal that can’t even speak for its own?

Apart from this, humans today are more worried about their social status, and to prove they have rich taste and belong to a higher section of society, they find pleasure in keeping exotic animals as their pets, which is illegal, or enjoying exotic dishes that have different combinations of animal skins, wear original fur, keep the horns, hides, and teeth as accessories in their homes, or even organise an animal show to collect money.

Pangolins are the most trafficked animals because of their scales and skin. They have healing abilities and thus are used for making various medicines to such an extent that they are now on the verge of extinction. What sense does this make? Killing one living creature to cure and save another? The latter being all-time selfish. Apart from pangolins, other animals that are illegally transported or poached are tigers, monkeys, dogs, elephants, snakes, crocodiles etc.

Though the world is becoming a difficult place to live with all the wrongs happening, be it a pandemic spread, an increase in child abuse, growing cases of rapes or domestic violence, the victims somehow have the option to raise their voices and bring what’s happening into the notice of people, which sadly can’t be done in this case by the victim. God has bestowed the capability to speak and communicate to us humans so that we can use our intelligence and judgement to raise our voices against those who can’t.

Last month the entire nation went outraged when a pineapple filled with crackers was fed to a pregnant elephant who painfully died a few days later. This incident also brought us to the fact that the Southern regions of our country have been in this kind of practice for years. They have killed all the elephants in their state and now illegally brought them from nearby states and countries to continue this trade of money and killings.

The same is the case with Nagaland, which has eaten up all its dogs and now illegally brings in dogs from other states so that they can be eaten. Fortunately, the videos and pictures went viral in both cases, and actions were taken. But what about those cases that never come to our knowledge?

Ayesha Christina runs an animal shelter in Delhi. She and her team were recently beaten up and hurt because they were trying to save dogs. So this is what people who raise their voices for animals deserve? It has to be stopped, and like always, the change has to come from within oneself.

What Can be Done?

We can stop all of this by not staying mum after witnessing such things, becoming a wildlife activist, or supporting those who are. Social media today has all sorts of powers, and if used correctly, it can stop this and create awareness. What it can’t do is make new laws or amend the old ones.

It has to be done by our constitution, for which we, the citizens, would have to raise our voices. There should be a rule about what can be eaten, traded or domesticated. There should be strict checking on the means of transport associated with the business. The laws already there should be made more stringent and, most importantly, enforceable.

People should know that they can be held accountable for their actions towards animals. Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul, and we should use our privilege of being able to express and communicate to save them.

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