For the love of animals

By Sameen Amer
Fri, 03, 18


Celebrities weigh in on the situation of animal rights in Pakistan, the plight of stray animals, and what can be done to make things better for animals in this country

Goher Mumtaz

  • Animal rights in Pakistan: Animal rights in Pakistan are seriously compromised. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any animal rights being acted upon, so not sure even if there are any. [Animal rights will remain only theoretical] until and unless the masses are aware of them and feel responsible towards them.
  • Plight of stray animals in Pakistan: Animals are mistreated, abused, and neglected. And what’s sad is that it can be witnessed anywhere and everywhere in Pakistan because there is no law and no fear of any charges or punishment. The mind-set of people that “forget about animals, even we humans don’t have any rights here” makes it ok for them to mistreat or become a witness to the mistreatment towards animals.
  • How to improve the situation: I believe there should be a law [that requires] charges [being filed] there and then, like they do if you break traffic rules. There should be shade provided for working animals, with designated areas where they can rest. There should be shelters for stray animals to encourage people to help them and leave them in good hands. I can go on and on.

Haroon Rashid

  • Animal rights in Pakistan: Unfortunately animal rights are not getting the attention they deserve. Animals need to be treated in the most humane manner possible.
  • Plight of stray animals in Pakistan: I think the plight of animals in Pakistan is not very good. You just have to take a look at the state of some of the zoos. We do have many animal lovers in Pakistan, but at the same time, the majority of the population never grew up with pets and are scared of cats and dogs, which is quite funny to me.
  • How to improve the situation: I think the biggest issue we face is awareness and that can come through education and public service messages. Furthermore, I think children should be exposed to animals at a young age. Many children are discouraged from keeping pets by their parents even though they desperately would love to get a puppy or a kitten. Having pets can have so many benefits; it’s well documented in science. Children especially benefit from growing up with pets. Pets teach empathy and responsibility; can give children confidence; and can be very therapeutic.

Zoe Viccaji

  • Animal rights in Pakistan: As a nation, we treat our animals really badly, and there seems to be very little empathy towards living things. Something that bugs me to no end is that whenever I post anything about animal rights or a case where animals are being treated badly I get a number of messages telling me to get my priorities right and how dare I talk about animals when there are ‘much bigger’ issues.
  • Plight of stray animals in Pakistan: My heart bleeds for our strays. I know overpopulation is a huge issue and stray dogs have been a nuisance to many, but this issue needs to be tackled as it has been in many foreign countries through trap-neuter-release. Unfortunately our people believe in what they think are quick fixes, and hordes of dogs are poisoned and killed. Funds dedicated to proper population control are swallowed by those at the top.
  • How to improve the situation: That’s a tough question and I’m really no expert. I would start by creating loving environments in schools for animals and making them more a part of children’s lives. Just as we are told to do to others as we would have them do unto us, love and respect towards animals needs to be built into our moral and ethics codes.

Angeline Malik

  • Animal rights in Pakistan: I feel there is no such thing as animal rights in Pakistan. I believe they have equal rights as any human being but it’s a shame that animals are treated with cruelty in Pakistan.
  • Plight of stray animals in Pakistan: It’s very unfortunate but if you look around and see all these voiceless stray animals, you will think their conditions are so pathetic that their only relief is death. How terrible is that? No one bothers to feed them and provide them clean water. In fact, the general attitude is of abusing them, which is a shame since being a Muslim state we are supposed to be kind to all beings, but that is not what the general population practices.
  • How to improve the situation: We can improve conditions by creating awareness. No one addresses the rights of animals. The general population is more concerned about their own wellbeing. [There will be improvement] if we can reinforce the fact that while [people] are working on the betterment of their own plight, they should be kind to animals along the way. The government should take steps to create more shelters. Take a stand where we see any kind of cruelty to animals and reinforce the basics of Islam.

Nausher Javed

  • Animal rights in Pakistan: Unfortunately this is a neglected topic in our society. I don’t see a lot of focus or attention given towards it.
  • Plight of stray animals in Pakistan: I feel the only focus is on killing or poisoning the stray animals with no future oriented approach.
  • How to improve the situation: Better medical services, more veterinary clinics and qualified doctors is what we need. There is scope to introduce more adoption centres and animal centres where pets can be left in safe hands.

Ayesha Omar

  • Animal rights in Pakistan: I feel that we need more rights for all living beings in Pakistan, whether it’s animals or human beings. I do know that a bill was passed recently which makes cruelty towards all animals a criminal offense punishable under law, so hats off for that bill being passed. At least a step has been taken in the right direction. But a lot more can be done.
  • Plight of stray animals in Pakistan: There are so many strays all over the country. A few people I know do actually work a lot for animal rights. A friend of mine, Ayesha Chundrigar, has an animal shelter as well which I frequently visit, and a lot of friends are also doing stuff privately on their own.
  • How to improve the situation: I think that more laws can be passed about cruelty towards animals. I think the government should set up animal shelters for strays where they can feed animals, and also work on awareness campaigns to promote animal rights. We need to educate people and teach them what to do when they see an animal in pain. And the state should get involved and get connected to the people who are trying to help animals on their own.

Anoushey Ashraf

  • Animal rights in Pakistan: I have been a very strong advocate of animal rights in Pakistan. I think they deserve the rights that are already there in our laws but they’re just not implemented.
  • Plight of stray animals in Pakistan: My heart breaks every time I look at a donkey or a dog or a cat or any stray. It really makes me feel very sad and very upset. I’m glad that there are organizations and the youngsters are now doing their bit to help the plight of stray animals in Pakistan. I have a feeling that very soon things will get better for them.
  • How to improve the situation: I think teaching children empathy [will help] because learning to respect and love animals starts at an early age. Another thing that can improve the situation is the spaying-neuter campaign that the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation is working on extensively. That’s a really good way of going about things because that’s how you eventually end up controlling the population of strays in the country, and that will automatically improve the situation.

Photo credit ACF