Animal cruelty is on the rise and constantly becoming a generally accepted norm in Pakistan. The plight of the voiceless victims can only be heard by the select few, those who can reflect on the sacredness of life and feel the suffering of others as their own. Indeed, that is a quality that is fundamental to ending the misery of humans and those who have coexisted with humanity since the very beginning of society. One can successfully argue the urgency of many problems in modern societies such as poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and rising rate of crime; however, taking the responsibility to help, care, and pay attention towards the needy and helpless animals can instil the values of gentleness and respect for other living beings, ultimately leading people towards working for the general welfare of others. Continue reading to understand why animals must be treated with respect and care and why their coexistence is a blessing for humans in modern society.
Be Kind to Animals
A rising number of animal cruelty cases in Pakistan indicate the total disregard for the welfare of animals on a societal level. Although there is a minority that voices their discontent with the way animals are treated in the country, their voices are, at best, noise for the ears of policymakers and the general public. As living beings, animals too feel pain, need water and food, want to hide in shelter, and if not loved, kindness will do just enough for them. For most of those who live the busy life that urban centres offer, giving thought to stray animals wandering in the streets, eating out of garbage, and finding shelter from extreme weather under cars is a very unwelcome proposition. However, on the other end of the spectrum, people can also be found feeding birds and cats in search of divine reward. Therefore, one stands to ask whether a bit of empathy and care for these living beings is too much to ask for? Be it on account of any reason, divine reward, or respect for the sanctity of every living being, and animals deserve that their rights be given.
Pakistan is a member of the World Organisation on Animal Health. Under the membership, Pakistan must ensure five basic freedoms for animals; namely recognised, freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition, freedom from fear and distress, freedom from physical and thermal discomfort, freedom from pain, injury and disease, and freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour relevant to the animal organisation includes a sufficient diet, water, comfort, space, hygiene, medical treatment, painless surgical procedures, and mental and emotional security. Being kind to animals embeds into the socio-ethical and religious norms of Pakistani society and promotes civic values such as kindness, care, and respect. Suppose humans do not understand the feelings of animals due to them not being able to communicate theirs effectively. Does that warrant a free pass to subject them to cruelty and suffering? Therefore, be kind to animals. It will not take much.
Breaking the Cycle of Animal Abuse
Pakistan amended the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1890 in January 2018. It remains to be asked why it took so long for the country’s lawmakers to realise the importance of doing so. Although the new amendments increased the fines and punishments of offenders, a holistic approach towards animal welfare could not be seen. Animals need to be recognised as sentient beings with intrinsic values needing protection and care. The current legislation does not include the entire categories of animals and their roles, such as companion pets, therapy dogs, farm animals, aquatic and wildlife animals, and those used in the sport. The act still needs to include standards of health, breeding systems, veterinary services, vaccinations, and stray animal management. If animal welfare is not adopted in a holistic approach in the country, the cycle of animal abuse will remain rampant in society. In that which can be termed as the best example for the world to follow, Turkey has passed laws that recognize the importance of animal welfare and ensures that animals are not regarded as mere items; instead, they are given a recognised status in the country with rights. Following the example of Turkey in this regard can prove to be a very successful model for Pakistan. Stay tuned to find out more about how Turkey gained animal rights after 15 years of struggle.
The world is a vast and resourceful place coinhabited by many species. From humans to animals, to fish and beyond, the sanctity of life of every living being is the fundamental right that upholds the moral fabric of any society. Once a society loses compassion for its weak and the voiceless, destruction and despair are not far behind. In an attempt to rectify human behaviour with the animals that live and thrive along with urban households, breaking the cycle of animal abuse is the first step towards ensuring that the young generation of Pakistan learns to love, share, and coexist with all the stray and wild animals surrounding their habitat. Be kind to animals.