Monday November 28, 2022

Behaviour change crucial to protect animals’ rights

January 23, 2022

Islamabad : The district administration along with related departments is working according to the guidelines provided by experts to make Islamabad safe for the animals, said Shehryar Arif Khan, Additional Deputy Commissioner.

He was speaking at a webinar on ‘Islamabad safe for stray animals’ held by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here Saturday.

Shehryar said that we have nine vaccine centers in the district which, however, need to be upgraded and aligned with these departments. He said the district administration is fully committed to protect animal rights. We have the required legal framework, laws and even high court’s judgment on animals’ rights and the administration is taking every measure to ensure compliance on these directions, he said.

Dr Imran Khalid, director, Governance and Policy, WWF, said that his fund mainly deals with conservation issues, however, it can also provide expert suggestion to the government on the protection of animal rights. He was of the view that we need to update our laws regarding the animals’ right. He called for awareness raising on protection of animals.

Dr Ghani Ikram, the founder, Strays Home and Rehab Shelter, informed the participants that with the help of district administration and some donors from the private sector, we are making efforts to make Islamabad a model city for the animals and other co-habitants. He said the livestock department which has all the necessity facilities can play a vital role in this regard.

Faraz Saeed, manager, Rabies-free Pakistan, was of view that first we need to spread the message all across Pakistan that animals also deserve sympathy and that a change in the mind set towards the animals is needed. Ms Wajeha Javed was of view that we need to work on the rabies first instead just taking the whole picture of animals’ rights.

Animal right activist, Faryal Nawaz, emphasised that the government and civil society should work together to create general empathy towards animals. Mahrukh Qizalbash, policy research consultant, Freshminds, UK, was of the view that animals should be declared as essential beings and provide all the legislative and infrastructure support for their safety and safe wellbeing. They need to be vaccinated, she added. Ayesha Ilyas, coordinator, Advocacy, SDPI, earlier, stressed that unfortunately aggression towards stray animals, especially towards dogs have been on the rise, hence, we must have clear guidelines for treatment of stray animals to discourage such negative behaviours.