There must be proper education for people on how to properly treat animals
fter every few weeks, social media is abuzz with cases of animal abuse in some corner of Pakistan. This time it was Lahore that came into the spotlight. According to some reports, an animal shelter near Thokar Niaz Baig was attacked a few days ago and some dogs were strangled to death. The incident was strongly condemned by the public but the commotion surrounding the case fizzled out soon. It is still not known what happened exactly.
In a country like ours, animal shelters play a very important role in saving four-pawed fur animals. Cats and dogs are mostly rescued from the roadside, taken to a shelter and treated till they regain their health. Afterwards, some are given away in adoption while others live in the secure environment of a shelter for the rest of their lives. But opening a shelter, especially for dogs, is not an easy task in the country. Such an initiative is not always approved of. The more fortunate animals among the rescued animals are adopted by families living abroad. Many shelters, including Todd Welfare Society, are sending rescued stray dogs abroad for adoption.
Most people prefer adopting or ‘buying’ expensive dogs and cats. Stray cats or dogs – or local breeds are not very popular with potential pet owners.
It is said that to understand what a country and its people are like, it is best to observe the way they treat their animals.
Running a proper shelter for animals with all the requisite facilities is a daunting task. From hiring helpers to providing healthy food to the animals, to keeping the place clean at all times, to monitoring the health of the animals, it can be an expensive endeavour to embark upon. Many of the shelters depend upon donations for their day-to-day operations.
It has been said that to understand what a country and its people are like, it is best to observe the way they treat their animals. We often hear about Turkey being a cat haven and their successful trap-neuter-vaccinate-release (TNVR) programme for dogs; the same goes for Nepal, where dogs are religiously revered. The Nepalese believe that dogs are the companions of the god of death. Dogs can be seen casually sitting along roadsides, sleeping in shops or walking alongside random people. Nepal accepts dogs as a part of the society.
Due to the many efforts of animal activists, the government has finally taken the initiative to begin a TNVR programme in Pakistan. But it is still in its initial stages. Only time will tell if it will be successful. These are all encouraging steps but the government should also step in to educate people, especially children, on animal rights and how they should be treated.
The writer is a freelance journalist