We All Have Rights

This is not a blog on any fancy topic or any related to human rights. This isn’t one on the latest fad or 5 ways to do something. This is something that requires our attention, but not many bother to even think about it. I’m talking about protecting animals from needless and mindless cruelty.

In a country where man is not kind to another man, how can one expect them to be kind to animals? As a child, we are repeatedly told to be afraid of dogs, that they could sense fear and that we should never go near one. As a result we are instilled with fear of dogs on the street. Stray animals are treated as lifeless objects in our society. When I see how people treat animals, it breaks my heart. We are being taught how animals are dangerous and they don’t feel anything other than anger and the urge to hurt humans. Be it a donkey or a horse, they are abandoned or killed by their owners if they age or are not of any use to them due to any physical problem. What kind of humanity is that?

Animals are innocent beings who would not hurt a human unless they feel threatened. They cannot express themselves. They are helpless in front of humans yet the purest form of love and happiness if treated the right way. They love and they feel and they protect somewhat like humans do. So why is animal cruelty on a high in Pakistan? The reason is simple, it is ingrained in our culture and in our minds. To show superiority we are taught to be violent. Triumph is achieved when someone is strong enough to bring their opponent down. Bravado is shown through physically overpowering you opponent. This is a reason for high rates of domestic violence, rape, brawls and even murder in Pakistan. So in a country where no one thinks twice about hurting another human being why would they care about animals who are considered as lesser beings?

There are two laws in place in the constitution of Pakistan, one of which dates back to the Pre-Independence era (The Pakistan prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1980). Another law, The West Pakistan Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Rules (1961), lists the maximum load to be put on an animal driven cart but seldom do we see these rules being followed. There is also a national body by the name of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. However, the laws are either outdated or they are not being implemented and often than naught we see government bodies being the most cruel to animals. Stray dogs are killed for no reason other than population control by the authorities.

There are people fighting for the cause. The Eidhi Foundation and the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation are two of them. More people do need to stand up because this is a cause which needs to be fought for and we can start by teaching our children and the next generation the importance of a life.

This issue is not widely discussed or talked about and when it is we get to hear reactions which can be summarized as, “Why should we focus on this when there is so much else to fix first? Humans are dying and you are talking about animals? They don’t matter and are not as important as humans.” I believe that all lives matter, be it a human or an animal. We all have rights to live. That’s what we need to teach our children and that’s what our society needs to learn.