The former Union Minister Vijay Goel has been in the news recently for protecting Delhi from the “stray dog menace’.
Former Union Minister Vijay Goel in the garb of ‘protecting Delhi from the stray dog menace,’ unfortunately has had negative consequences. The actions of the BJP-affiliated politician have inadvertently contributed to an increased sense of fear among the local population. It has further exacerbated the existing divide between animal lovers and those who oppose the presence of stray dogs on the streets. Unfortunately, this has hindered the progress toward establishing a harmonious environment where animals pose no threat to humans, and humans, in turn, do not pose a threat to animals. Consequently, finding a reasonable and effective solution to the issue of stray dogs has become significantly more challenging.
Furthermore, Mr. Goel’s behavior has raised concerns regarding his adherence to the code of conduct expected of a former minister and ex-Member of Parliament. Reports have emerged of him behaving improperly towards fellow citizens who simply held differing opinions regarding his approach to addressing stray dog bites.
These reports include multiple complaints filed against Mr. Goel at the Model Town Police Station in Delhi, accusing him of violating the directives of the Honorable Supreme Court, which emphasize the protection of animal feeders from harassment while feeding stray dogs. Troublingly, video recordings available online show Mr. Goel assaulting a woman. There are also instances of his supporters behaving rowdily and disrespectfully towards women participants at his meetings. It is unclear whether the women involved have lodged formal complaints against the BJP leader.
Addressing the issue of stray dogs requires a rational and fear-free approach. Mr. Goel’s actions are counterproductive to the cause he has taken responsibility for. The most effective way to reduce the incidence of stray dog bites in India is through vaccination, sterilization, and ensuring their proper nourishment. Such measures automatically decrease the likelihood of aggressive behavior.
Proposals to indiscriminately relocate all stray dogs to shelters or pounds are not viable, as these facilities typically lack adequate space, proper veterinary care, and regular meals, rendering them unsuitable environments for healthy animals. Instead, our country must focus on effectively implementing Anti Birth Control (ABC) laws while addressing the issue with compassion and strategic planning.
Stray dogs are not our enemies. A person’s lack of empathy towards them and the knee-jerk reaction to the situation is causing unrest in society. As an advanced species, it is our moral duty to ensure the well-being of our community animals. Any other approach other than that of compassion and empathy only reflects our failure as an educated society and pushes us back to the ages of Neanderthals, where decisions were motivated by our instincts alone without any care for anything that has to do with the civilized world.
In retrospect, humans like Mr. Goel insensitively trampling on animal grounds are the real menaces only provoking fear, intolerance to our furred friends, and developing a greater divide in society.
You might also want to read: The Canine Dilemma– Revisiting a Timeless Dharmic Relationship