In India, weddings are incomplete without the groom gracing the bride's house on horseback and all the family and friends celebrating the couple's union with loud music and firecrackers. Unfortunately, nobody stops by to look at the decorated horse, who might be traumatized by the loud music and bursting of firecrackers. The University of Melbourne published a study that mentioned that humans consider music for themselves, might be noise for animals and could have long-lasting effects. Animals must communicate to establish bonds and mate with other animals; however, prolonged exposure to loud music can drastically damage their eardrums.
Prolonged exposure to music can increase cortisol levels, commonly known as the stress hormone in animals. An increase in stress can stunt the growth of animals, and as a matter of fact, small animals are more vulnerable. Visiting circuses, zoos and taking rides on horseback, elephants, and camels is an everyday recreational activity on Indian tourist sites. However, what can be termed fun for humans, might account for inflicting torture on the animals. Research by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) found more than 3000 captured elephants for entertainment purposes.
Animals Suffer From PTSD
To train animals to perform 'entertainment' activities, they undergo severe training. For instance, baby elephants are held captive and beaten so that they can learn to carry passengers on rides when they grow up. Researchers have found that animals who are forced into submission by humans face a lasting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Elephants are wild animals that move around herds led by a female elephant, and they feed on natural vegetation. However, when captured and put to work, the elephants are isolated, or their groups become smaller, and they have limited space to walk around, sometimes in the scorching sun, without food.
In a progressive move, the government of India had banned the use of animals in street shows and circuses, because better late than never, we realized that the voiceless animals deserve to be treated with dignity. Nevertheless, as they say, there is no end to human pleasure; therefore, the zoos that were meant to preserve endangered species have become one of the most preferred recreational sites for Indians. The cages are designed by keeping the visitors and spectators in mind and not the animals who stay in those cages.
Since most of the animals in the zoo are wild, it is unnatural for them to stay confined in enclosed spaces rather than going out in the wild and fending for themselves. The misery is not limited to terrestrial animals only. Care-takers of huge aquariums keep dolphins and sharks because they garner more audience, and hence, better revenue. Dolphins are often made to perform several tricks for long durations to keep tourists entertained.
Advisories are issued before festivals to reinforce people's minds to be sensitive about dogs and other animals. Dogs are scared of firecrackers during Diwali and are vulnerable to skin allergies from Holi colours. Nonetheless, we see many of them in shades of pink and blue after celebrations end for humans.
PETA's Controversial Tweet
Recently, PETA tweeted that using horses during weddings is cruel and abusive. The statement was backed by evidence that mentioned that in most cases, one could find a spiked bit in the horse's mouth to control lacerations, and under the glitzy decor, one could find the whip wounds on the animals. This 'torture' could be avoided if people chose not to use animals for ceremonies, rides and tourism. The thought by the animal rights organization received a severe backlash from netizens and was trolled on social media platforms.
However, as responsible citizens, we must stop by and think where we as a human race are going wrong in looking out for the voiceless living beings of our ecosystem. Like us humans, animals, too, have a right to live their lives in complete freedom. Animals held captive are taken away from their native places and put under confines that inhibit their ability to explore, grow, and learn. Events like bullfighting and animal races cause injury to the animal and make them more vulnerable to falling prey to PTSD.
Even though animal rides might look recreational and fun, but the animals are ill-fed and made to stand for long hours. Those animals are chained for long durations and get extremely tired by standing in the hot sun for long hours. Now, the onus of taking up the responsibility lies on our shoulders. A little sensitivity towards all living beings and a scoop of thoughtfulness can make us act more responsible.