Guwahati, April 18: The next time you pick up a stick to shoo away a
straying beast of burden, do it at the risk of a tongue-lashing from
the neighbourhood kids.
After filing cases against three owners of horse-drawn carts for
carrying excessive load, animal rights activists in Guwahati are
taking their campaign against cruelty to animals to schools in the
city. Doya, the NGO behind the "chargesheets", has teamed up with the
Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for the programme.
"We believe sensitising schoolchildren towards animals is the best way
to spread the message of preventing the kind of cruelty that we see
around us everyday. We have decided to tie up with schools and teach
students about how to ensure that animals are treated better,"
Srimanta Borthakur, president of Doya, said.
Indeed, animals could do with a little bit of doya (compassion) in a
state where even wildlife is not being spared. Straying elephants and
leopards are either attacked with weapons or poisoned. The sacrifice
of animals � buffaloes and goats � as part of special rituals at the
Kamakhya temple has long been a bone of contention between animal
rights activists and votaries of tradition.
Borthakur said Doya would set up "Karuna Clubs" in schools to involve
students in the mission to prevent cruelty to animals, primarily
beasts of burden. Apart from functioning as vigilance squads, these
clubs will spread awareness about the need to create "an atmosphere of
peaceful coexistence between humans and animals".