Cruelty crisis

According to the details, a landowner chopped off the leg of a camel that had mistakenly entered the owner’s fields

By Editorial Board
June 20, 2024
The camel whose leg was amputated by a landlord in Sanghar in this image released on June 15, 2024. — X/Menghwar_Rawal

If there were a list of countries with the highest number of incidents of animal cruelty, surely Pakistan would have been among the top 10 (if not at the top). Barely a few weeks after the heart-wrenching dog incident where a puppy was thrown off from a high-rise apartment’s balcony in Karachi, another equally bloodcurdling video surfaced on social media – this time from Sanghar. According to the details, a landowner chopped off the leg of a camel that had mistakenly entered the owner’s fields. For days, the image of a teary-eyed and wailing camel – named ‘Cammie’ by social media users – dominated people’s timelines on almost every social media platform. People had barely come to terms with the tragedy when news outlets reported yet another gruesome case of animal abuse – someone chopped off a donkey’s ears over a land dispute in Rawalpindi. For how long do we have to keep reminding people that we have to respect animal rights and that we should not see them as soulless props? We were reminded that all hope was not lost when we saw how after the 2022 floods, locals and rescuers put their lives in danger to rescue the stranded animals – and yet we come across such cases where people show zero empathy.

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The question of what triggered these individuals to attack animals is irrelevant here. Mental stress, poverty, frustration or government inaction – there is no excuse for the cruelty we have seen over the last few weeks. We need to introduce strict laws and punishments for those who refuse to co-exist with animals whose only mistake is existing in the same space as us. Ignoring such cases will empower miscreants who may continue to take such extreme measures without first reaching out to authorities if they have genuine complaints.

People running animal shelters often share the unspeakable horrors of abuse they come across on a daily basis. This should stop. The government and civil society members have to come forward and take responsibility for changing people’s behaviour. Instead of watching the cries of an injured camel, we need to see more videos where people are seen helping animals. We need incidents that reassure us that humanity is not dead. We must at least try to become a society that does not attack voiceless animals. This is not rocket science.

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