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April 6, 2020

Human actions

Editorial

 
April 6, 2020

Crises bring forward both the worst and best in people. We saw the worst at Karachi’s Empress Market, where hundreds of animals were left to starve in their tiny, cramped cages because the market was closed due to the lockdown. A team from the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation, an animal shelter and rescue unit, found terrible conditions as they removed the few animals left alive, most in an emaciated state to attempt to provide them with the food and water they needed. The team had been given access to the market by the Sindh government.

It is worth remembering these animals had not gathered at Empress Market of their own free will. They had been placed there by humans to sell for the sake of profit. As such, it is the duty of these humans to find a way to feed them and ensure their welfare. The same problems have arisen at other animal markets in both Lahore and Islamabad. We can only wonder what the situation is at the badly kept zoos in the country and how the animals housed there are faring. Indeed, the issue is a global one, with reports coming in from Sri Lanka of elephants at sanctuaries not being able to obtain food provided by humans, and monkeys in India starving because the tourists who routinely fed them have vanished.

Humans are possibly the most selfish of animals. The actions taken by human beings have virtually destroyed the planet for animals as well as people. While the Covid-19 crisis is a reminder of this, it should also be a reminder of the need to ensure that all living species, especially those that have no means to forage for their own food, must be protected. We cannot simply allow caged animals to die all over the country. This only exposes the basic cruelty of the human race. We are fortunate to have some animal rights groups that are trying to make a difference. Across the country, there are almost no mechanisms to care for animals or consider their needs. At this time it is a bigger requisite that we think about all the species we live our lives with. All these creatures are living beings who can feel the pain of hunger, of starvation just as humans can. More effort is needed to ensure they do not suffer the terrible outcome of this crisis.