Friday July 19, 2024

When humanity fails

A viral clip from Liaquatabad, Karachi shows several men throwing a puppy from balcony of a multi-storey apartment building to his death

By Editorial Board
June 10, 2024
Photograph of stray dogs in Rawalpindi. — AFP/File
Photograph of stray dogs in Rawalpindi. — AFP/File

Each time animal rights activists – or just decent human beings – come across a tale of depravity in Pakistan, they assume that is the worst thing a person could do to a voiceless animal. Each time, they are proven wrong, as people continue to show the gruesome and hard-to-digest ways they use to torture or kill animals. The latest episode involves a viral clip from Liaquatabad, Karachi which shows several men throwing a puppy off from the balcony of their multi-storey apartment building to his death. Reports circulating on social media suggest that one person has been arrested, although the men responsible for killing the puppy are free for now. People’s attitude towards animals in this country has been awful. Some use them as props to improve their shooting skills while others torture them for entertainment. For a few laughs, they ignore that there is a living, breathing creature in front of them. People running animal shelters often upload videos and images of badly beaten and injured dogs and cats that show the depths of cruelty to which humans can fall.

Regarding the latest episode, when rights activists visited the apartment building, the men responsible for the puppy’s death tried to justify their actions. Sure, the growing number of stray dogs is a legitimate issue and must be catered to, but ruthless killings are certainly not the answer – and there is absolutely no justification that can remotely work in this instance. We have seen our institutions adopt the same route where dogs are poisoned to reduce their numbers only to accept that such measures do not lead to the desired results.

It is unfortunate that we are at a point where we have to explain to our people that certain animals, birds and insects are vital for our ecosystem. Activists have been pleading with the government to launch spay/neuter programmes to control the stray dog population growth. They also call for action against breeders who sell dogs not suited for our environment. And yet people throw thousands of rupees on such dogs and never speak up for strays. People argue that the strays are responsible for dog bites, which lead to fatal health conditions. Activists have shared plan after plan with authorities to reduce such cases as well. Dogs that bite are easily identifiable and should be taken to state-run shelters. But none of these issues warrant the depravity it takes to throw a puppy to its death. Lessons must be learnt from cities like Istanbul that have managed to create a beautiful balance between humans and animals. Having said this, it is also important to consider if punishments like imprisonment will lead to the desired results. Instead of keeping people behind bars, these people should be tasked with taking care of stray animals in their localities, with weekly reports to their UC office. This will perhaps help make people realize that animals need our care and love, not sticks and stones.