As a young kid, I remember watching my mother spread food grains over a piece of cloth under the sun. Sun drying of various food grains like rice, wheat and few others used to be a common activity in every Indian household. It was such a pleasure to watch especially because grains spread under the sun attracted birds.
Unlike today’s generation who are hooked to mobile games; for a kid grown up during 80’s and 90’s, watching household activities was sort of an entertainment. I always watched these birds curiously as they would walk all over the spread, relentlessly moving their head, scanning the entire spread of food grains and diligently choosing their food. When they came across a stone or any inedible stuff, they would vigilantly ignore and move ahead. Once they are done, they would happily fly away and mostly come back when they needed.
At this moment in time of corona outbreak, every one of us would have definitely read about wildlife farming. Well, wildlife farming is the act of raising non-domesticated animals such as tiger, pangolin, and wild boar to name a few, in an agricultural setting mostly for human consumption, decorative and medicinal purpose. In farm setting, offspring is produced by inbreeding where mating is done between genetically identical individuals (like siblings or close cousins). And that is the reason why farm animals have very weak immunity and are usually not instinctive as the wild varieties (like the broiler chickens or the tigers that you could find in places like tiger temple (Kanchanburi, Thailand). Even today in India marriage between close cousins is forbidden for the risk of hidden genetic disorders being developed in future generations.
And yes, one of the purposes of wild life farming happens to be human consumption and at this point I am reminded of those conscious birds that chose their food carefully. It now seems to me that they knew all that they could digest and all that are edible! We, human beings, who are supposed to be the most intelligent animals on earth, are somewhere failing to even make this simple distinction. As a result, we are often gifted with newer zoonotic diseases such as SARS, MERS. Probably, we will be posed with many more if we let go off ‘humane’ from human beings then all that we will be left with is just ‘being’.
I was always taught since my childhood that wild animals are very furious hunters and now the present day kids would be learning the same too. However, I foresee that kids in the near future would in turn question that if wild animals are furious hunters and human beings are exploiting them; then shouldn’t human beings be called wild animals?
Now when I look back, I hear the cries of all those ladies who would yell at the birds ‘all my grains have been eaten away’, yet somewhere they had the satisfaction of feeding the innocents. And those were the times when wild animals were being watched in movies or channels like NGC or Animal planet. My heart goes for those notorious birds who grabbed their food and stealthy wild animals who would roam freely in wild jungle, both of which are on the verge of extinction.
Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to let these animals live in wild and their birthright to freely roam in jungles but undeniably not to be weighed on butcher’s weighing scale.