Monday June 17, 2024

Learning humanity

By Editorial Board
October 03, 2022

It would not be an understatement to say that animals in Pakistan have generally a miserable life. From the average dog or cat on the street to the more exotic animals in the zoo to the even more exotic animals kept by rich folks in their homes, there are very few people in the country who realize that animals deserve protection from abuse and maltreatment. The head of the Prime Minister's Strategic Reforms Unit, Salman Sufi, intends to alter this through new laws through which first of all the archaic animal protection laws in the country introduced in colonial times would be changed. The new laws are to be brought in to prevent people from keeping at home species such as lions, tigers or other animals best suited to their natural habitats.

Perhaps most significant of all is the plan to introduce a curriculum in schools, which should educate children about the need to protect animals rather than abuse them. One hopes this curriculum is not restricted to the few fancier schools in the country; we need civic training and love and respect for nature and all it offers extended to all children, regardless of class. The worst treatment is meted out to dogs or cats on the streets, who barely live on waste food and are subjected to violence at the hands of most everyone. This is simply one of the kinds of abuse that the animals often suffer and against which nothing is being done. The large number of street dogs in the country has led to one of the worst solutions to the 'problem' – indiscriminate, inhumane culling. Instead of spaying to reduce the population or checking to see which animal has become rabid and ensure others are given timely medical interventions so as to make them safe for themselves and for humans.

Another Muslim country, Turkey, is worth emulating in this regard – an extremely harmonious relationship between street animals and human communities appears to have been developed there. People routinely place food for these animals and teams are available to neuter and to offer medical care for those who require it. As a result, both animals and humans live in harmony. This is what we should be aspiring towards as groups such as the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation suggest so that animals can be saved from the pain they live under on a constant basis. One hopes the recent government initiatives are implemented and also carried forward so that we teach our young what humanity looks like.