Whose dog must die next for you to finally care?

In a world marred by cruelty, Killua’s murder is just the tip of the iceberg. It shouldn’t take a tragedy to strike close to home before we take a stand against such barbarity.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article mentions sensitive topics of animal abuse and death. Readers are advised to proceed with caution.

You’d have to be living under a rock not to know about the despicable murder of Killua. The golden retriever was brutally beaten to death and callously discarded in a sack in Camarines Sur early this week.

The killer’s feeble excuse was that he was only trying to defend himself after the dog—his breed literally known for their friendly and playful personality—allegedly chased his child. When CCTV footage presented otherwise, he showed no shred of remorse and shamelessly flaunted his political connections. 

Everyone has brought this up, right? That the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 makes it illegal for any person to torture or kill any animal. That the same law penalizes violators with imprisonment of between six months and two years and fines not exceeding P100,000. That nothing would be enough to honor the life of an innocent creature.

Worse, Killua’s tragic fate is just the tip of the iceberg. Last year, a mall security guard tossed a puppy to his death off a footbridge in Quezon City. The puppy called Browny was held by one of the beggars that the guard was trying to drive away. Like Killua’s killer, the guard invoked self-defense. Months before that, a man in Cavite stabbed a dog named Hachiko to death following a fight with his owner.

The case has also only been a catalyst for other cases of animal abuse and neglect to come to light. A barangay-run animal pound in Cavite has been put under investigation after social media blasted evidence of cats resorting to eating fellow cats due to gross neglect of the caretakers. In Malate, a harmless resto pet dog named Ericka was also stabbed to her death by a foreigner after being bitten by a stray dog.

Society has this sickening underbelly of barbarians we’d rather turn a blind eye to. 

I, for one, cannot stomach any thought of the pain endured by animals. The very fact that animals are tamed to be sold as property or cultivated to be slaughtered for meat—all for human consumption—is already an idea I can’t reconcile with. But to deny hearing about these abominations just because they are heartbreaking wouldn’t help me with my aspirations to make the world a better place to live in for animals.

This normalized culture of animal cruelty is everywhere, and it’s revolting. These “natural order” or “food chain” ideologies that humanity has taken to put itself on top are lazy cop-outs to excuse people from facing the truth that they are pompous, self-centered, and heartless.

It’s a shame that God or whatever scientific evolutionary concept you subscribe to bestowed upon us the gift of reason because we have only twisted it for our selfish desires. We were given logic and yet we use it to render empathy and compassion null. We’ve used reasoning to corner ourselves into individualistic ideals. We disregard life, and it is disgusting.

This is the disturbing reality we live in now. Compassion is a rare commodity, drowned out by the deafening roar of our own egos. We have become desensitized, indifferent to the suffering of those who cannot speak for themselves. 

And I know that is a huge thing to unpack. Humanity’s track record isn’t exactly spotless. Considering the tyranny, genocide, and countless other man-made atrocities that plague this modern world, what happened to Killua, Browny, Hachiko, Ericka, and all the animals that have been brutally murdered or neglected only proves that fundamentally, humans are callous beings. We do not deserve the voice and reason we have. After all, humans won’t care until it’s their own agony. 

So I pose this to you: Imagine you weren’t you. You were instead a being full of trust, your heart overflowing with love for the world. Every day was an adventure, a chance to connect and experience joy. Then, out of nowhere, for no reason you could understand, that love was ripped away. Violence took everything. Violence took you from the world. What then? 

Maybe then you’d care.

Kim Balasabas

By Kim Balasabas

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