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Do Animals Need Rights? – A Rendezvous With Maneka Gandhi

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We live our lives with so much ease, with little consideration for the creatures around us, who make our living system balanced and worth living. Prominent politician, animal rights activist and environmentalist Maneka Gandhi gave the students of LSR a reality check about their lives and exposed such horrific facts about humankind, that forced students to re- think their moral values and the way they view their daily life. Organized by the Dhyana society of LSR, Maneka Gandhi gave a one and a half hour lecture on Animal Rights, the situation of animals in our country, and the need for a more intense understanding of the protection each and every living being on the earth. Maneka Ma’am began the talk by asking the students a really basic question, ‘Who loves cockroaches?’ To this question no hands rose up! She wasn’t surprised and went on to explain the utility of cockroaches in cleaning up faeces, and how without their existence today, the earth would be a barren land with no life. She also gave the classic example of Mauritius, which lost its teak wood because of the extinction of dodos, and also lost its distinctive Creole culture because of the migration of Bihari labour as the country began to grow other plantation crops after the extinction of the teak tree. It is necessary to realize the need for living in harmony with all creatures, and when human beings exist to fulfil more enlightened activities, they don’t need to indulge in criminal activities like killing animals for leather, polluting river bodies, torturing cows and buffaloes for milk, etc. Maneka Ma’am dispelled many popular myths like chicken soup being good for one’s health, and cow’s milk being the primary source for calcium in the human body. In fact, chicken soup increases the germ count in the body, and cow’s milk breaks down the calcium in our body! Cows and buffaloes were chosen over other animals for providing milk for humans as they are slow, and passive. Daily, hundreds of cows are injected with oxytocin, to stimulate more milk flow, which in fact sends the cow into labour pain twice a day, and the milk derived from the cow actually contains her blood, so the milk we drink daily contains the plasma and red blood cells of the cow it is derived from. Maneka Gandhi also pointed out the loopholes in the Indian judicial system, that allowed criminal offenders to escape. She cited an example of a particular leather factory under the name ‘Moonlight industry’ that was shut down by her when she was the Minister, but it promptly opened the next day under a new name, ‘Sunlight industries.’ Maneka Gandhi’s talk forced all students to re- think their approach towards animals and other beings, and stimulated an active discussion amongst the students regarding vegetarianism, corruption, etc.   Ankita Mukhopadhyay [email protected]]]>

[email protected];I am a third year History (Hons.) student studying in Lady Shri Ram College and I am extremely passionate about my subject. Writing is one of my favourite hobbies, and I am also a trained classical singer. DU Beat has fascinated me since my first year, and working for DU Beat has been the most challenging as well enjoyable phase of my life. I am also into archaeology, South East Asian studies and I am a big fan of Roger Federer (no offence to Nadal fans!). I religiously follow tennis, and I am also into judo. I hope to be a researcher in the future. Administration does not lure me, but the love of the past does, for history is what we make it, and what defines our very base of existence!

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