Last update: 09-Dec-2013 4:37 pm
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Election campaigns harmful to citizens and animals
The campaigns that have been rampant for the past few weeks in the build-up to the local government elections have exhibited a shameful lack of consideration for the welfare of the citizens and the animals of Trinidad and Tobago. German philosopher Immanuel Kant stated: “He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” This bodes poorly for the humans of T&T when we reflect on the abuse meted out to our animals at the hands of our future leaders. Noise pollution can be defined as the intrusion of unwanted sounds into our daily lives: a category into which firmly falls the music trucks party supporters mistakenly believe to be essential accompaniment for their campaign efforts. The decibel (dB) is the universal unit of sound measurement.
The average human pain threshold for sound measures is at 110dB, and the music emitted from music trucks measures in at a weighty 120dB and above. It is important to bear in mind that humans hear in frequencies of 20 kHz, dogs can hear up to 45 kHz, and cats hear up to 64 kHz. All of the above simply translates into the fact that the hearing of our pets is much more sensitive than that of humans, so noises that are only just tolerated by us can cause pain and eardrum rupture in our animals. Laboratory studies and limited field research have uncovered four major ways in which animals are adversely affected by human induced noise pollution: hearing loss, resulting from noise levels of 85 dB or greater; masking, which is the inability to hear important environmental cues and animal signals; non-auditory physiological effects such as increased heart rate and respiration and general stress reaction; and behavioural effects, which vary greatly between species and noise characteristics resulting in, for example, abandonment of territory and lost reproduction.
Noise pollution significantly impairs the hearing of human beings, too (particularly our children and the elderly); affects our mental health through the inducement of anxiety, stress and hysteria; and is a major contributing factor to physiological responses such as raised blood pressure and heart rate which lead to increased risk of heart attacks. The use of a live animal—a goat—as a prop for one of the political parties is a clear case of animal cruelty. The unnecessary distress and suffering caused to the animal by being forced into an alien environment full of scary sights, deafening sounds and unfamiliar scents, not to mention being manhandled into wearing clothes, is completely unwarranted and abusive. I refer this candidate to the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, or perhaps I ought to re-name them the “Five Liberties of Animal Welfare.” I end with a quote from Mahatma Ghandi: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” I urge those in positions of power to think on this before you act. All beings deserve respect and the lack shown thus far is chilling.
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