Pune, November 20, 2023 : In a powerful and poignant display of commitment to animal rights, activists across Pune gathered at Kartraj Zoo to launch a unique campaign aimed at raising awareness and putting an end to the exploitation of animals.
One of the volunteers was sitting inside a cage, symbolizing the suffering endured by countless animals each day. They appealed to the masses to stop visiting zoos where animals are denied freedom and are taken away from their natural environment.
The primary goal of this event was to evoke empathy within the hearts of individuals towards animals that are relentlessly exploited not only for zoo and other amusements but also for various purposes, including food, clothing, entertainment, and more. The activists stressed the importance of recognizing animals as sentient beings who value their lives, just as humans do. They firmly believe that our greed should not be a justification for using or exploiting animals.
The resolute activists passionately urged the public to cease supporting industries that exploit animals and to make conscious choices in their daily lives. They called on individuals to refrain from consuming animal products such as meat, milk, dairy, and honey, highlighting that peer-reviewed research supports the notion that thriving on a plant-based diet is not only possible but also beneficial.
Despite the rise in awareness , many continue to subject animals to exploitation for mere moments of pleasure, often viewing them as mere objects, disregarding their living, breathing, sentient nature. The activists emphasized that this speciesism, a form of discrimination that devalues the lives of animals, is a learned behavior from society, much like casteism.
Kinjal , one of the passionate participants who volunteered to sit inside the cage for the event, shared her perspective, “We fail to understand that they are sentient beings just like us.” They feel pain and they have the capacity to suffer just like us.
Abhishek, one of the organizers, explained that social conditioning plays a significant role in people’s reluctance to break the habit of consuming animal products, despite their unwillingness to harm animals themselves.
During the event, many bystanders expressed their newfound understanding, as they had previously been unaware of the standard practices used in dairy farms, where cows and buffaloes often endure exploitation and torture for the sake of milk production and eventually slaughtered for beef or leather.
Some individuals attempted to justify animal exploitation by suggesting that plants also have a form of sentience, a claim dismissed by the activists who emphasized the critical distinction between sentient and non-sentient beings.
The gathering underscored the growing determination of activists to put an end to animal exploitation, and their numbers continue to swell. Their call to the government is clear: “Personhood status for all animals.”
In a world where the rights of animals are increasingly in the spotlight, this event stands as a beacon of hope, encouraging society to see them as individuals just like humans who value their lives. The event was organised in collaboration with Vegan India movement which is an initiative for grassroots activists in India.