April 2020 marks the month the Islamabad High Court ruled in favour of protecting animal rights and guaranteeing them protection under our national constitution. But, have we seen any changes since then? More specifically, have we noticed a fall in animal cruelty, culling, testing and abuse? The answer, sadly, is, no, because there has not been a change.
The High Court may have done its part; now is the time for us, as Pakistanis, to do ours. I urge you to listen closely; only nationwide individual efforts can contribute to a change in this land where strays and ‘burdensome’ pets are treated as little more than objects.
But, these ‘objects’ have eyes, through which they witness your ignorance while they suffer, bodies which feel the pain when you strike them for amusement, ears which hear your shouts and taunts, and noses which can smell the food cooked in your homes, the surplus of which is wasted and thrown in the bin. Do you not think that the handful of rice or meat or bones would mean infinitely more to these animals, where a bite of rotten food in the dumpsters is considered a lucky meal?
Put simply, anyone who fails to speak out against an animal’s abuse or neglect is part of the problem. Animal testing still prevails, and many colleges conduct inhumane experiments on live, speechless animals as if they are mere dummies for us to practice on. Neighbourhood culling still occurs, where stray dogs and cats are slaughtered rather than helped, fixed, sheltered and fed. Tell me, for what crimes the authorities are killing them?
Fighting against this, our local animal shelters such as ACF, TWS, JFK, Strays Home and many others, rescue and rehabilitate the sick, wounded and neglected animals who enter the shelter in heartbreakingly tragic conditions. These organizations, however, being non-profit, need our help and donations to continue their kindness. An essential aim of theirs is TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release), where street animals are taken to be fixed and returned to their neighbourhoods, helping to control the population and preventing more from being subject to this harsh street life. It is time to take a united stand against animal cruelty. Us with our sin-tainted lives and them with their innocent, wide eyes; yet, we think we are better than them. Consider this for a moment and think, can that rightfully be said?
The author is a student of A-1, LGS Defence, Lahore. High achiever and O-level World Distinction Holder in Math and Biology.