Every dog has its day is an idiom one finds succour in when one’s overlooked or doesn’t get what she/he wants. The succour comes in the hope that one will get one’s place in the sun, eventually. But this doesn’t seem to apply to dogs and horses in the Army, according to a recent report.
In reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query seeking to know what the Army did with its old dogs and horses, it was told that dogs and horses that were deemed unfit for a month’s active service were "disposed of by humane euthanasia". That’s right, downright killing an animal after measuring it in terms of human efficiency. Mind you, these are not strays but animals equal to soldiers. They sniff out explosives and save the lives of Army personnel engaged in counter-insurgency duty, are deployed in infantry patrol, tracking, guarding and detecting human life, especially in conditions where humans can’t sight casualties like under debris after an earthquake.
Yes, these saviours of man and humankind in times of natural calamities are being killed since they can’t discharge their duties for more than a month because they are old or ill. Animal rights activists are livid at this callous disregard for animal life. The Army personnel quoted in the report said they can’t leave the animals in a civilian pound because the dogs and horses cannot be maintained without the kind of facilities the Army provides. Just letting them live in some obscure pound is too much of an ask?
Or is it because dogs and horses don’t get divine marks and respect like the bovine? The Army should look up Hindu mythology for Dattatreya, the deity who is said to be an avatar or amalgam of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Dattatreya is often portrayed surrounded by dogs and cows. Why should the Army love only its cows and why not respect its dogs and all animals it uses?
Calling it "humane euthanasia" is also mocking the many people who have been reduced to a vegetable and are kept alive because India doesn’t allow letting them go peacefully and with respect. The Army’s no home for old dogs and horses. Once in, the animals can never leave, alive.