OPINION: Joseph Otieno: Human Rights Activists Abusing Animals is Immoral

Where is the logic in abusing the rights of the vulnerable species in defence of another superior species? The activists are at it again due to the current purge on corruption and wanton wildlife poaching among other immoralities.The last time this happened was on March 30th, 2015 when activists chained five donkeys on a metal grill, with graffiti condemning corruption painted on them, in an action attributed to those who oppose the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

One of the five animals had also been painted in black and white colour to depict it as a zebra while the rest had red paint depicting bleeding.

"Corruption is bleeding Kenya" read part of the graffiti on the donkeys. Other writings were directed at Kenyan leaders. This was not the first time animals were abandoned in the city centre. In 2013 some pigs were used for a similar activity to protest the high salaries of government employees.

They were meant to send a message that Kenyans are tired of rising cost of living and insecurity. Animals, like other zoological beings are sentient creatures; they too can be happy or sad depending on how they are treated by their masters who rank higher on the intellectual scale, the only attribute that sets human apart from other species. Animal rights advocates have condemned this speciesism, which they equate to racism or sexism.

Animals play a critical ecological function In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated". The Holy Bible condemns cruel acts against animals in Proverbs 12.10 – "Good people take care of their animals, but wicked people are cruel to theirs."  The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act protects animals against abuse.

Animals are a source of food, draught power and income to man. Pets give unconditional company; wild animals too have a critical ecological function in our planet and are a source of foreign currency and a symbol of our national heritage.

It, therefore, boggles the mind when their masters turn against these sentient beings with utter disregard to natural law that you cannot bite the hand that feeds you. Mahatma's school of thought measures societal morals by how it treats its most vulnerable members. When human rights groups abuse the rights of animals, we should be worried because this negates their hypothetical mantra.

They are telling the society that indeed the vulnerable Kenyans are doomed. This statement is vindicated by the fact that a good measure of the political class started off in civil society movements, fighting for human rights, got the requisite publicity and metamorphosed into politicians who now endorse immoral salaries for themselves and support the passage of punitive laws.

Animal rights abuse in the country is so rife, in 2008 for example; Target Africa had organised a bullfight at Kasarani Stadium in a bid to market the Western Kenya cultural event as a tourists' attraction. The act contravenes the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.  It took the Kenya Veterinary Association's chairman Christopher Wanga's court action to stop the event.

Mistreating animals yet we want returns

In 2012, at Gikomora village in Maragua, a family buried a cow alive before the remains of Mugucia Wang'era were interred. This was supposedly done to appease his wish and protect theliving from a curse.

That this criminal act was committed in full view of law enforcement officers (chief) and withthe endorsement of religious leaders speaks a lot about the moral rot in society.   Overloaded donkeys whipped to move faster, dogs left on their own to scavenge in dump sites,

dog and cat carcasses litter our roads are a common sight. We keep pigs in squalid conditions and feed them on rotting garbage but are glad to make money out of them.

Our society views domestic animals as commercial commodities devoid of feelings and this is the same way the corrupt steal from public coffers. The harshest abuse one can spew forth is that which equates their opponent to an animal.

A study done in the US found that 70 per cent of people who abused pets were more likely to commit other crimes.

The impunity with which we abuse animals under our care is the log in our eyes that prevents us from empathizing with the heavily burdened in our society.