Charles Darwin once said, "The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man." We humans seem to have long forgone this very pivotal attribute. The exponential increase in the violence against the voice-less beings has left humanity shocked to its core, and Pakistan is no different in this regard. Heinous acts being carried out against animals has become prevalent in society- the primary victims being donkeys, stray cats, and stray dogs. Donkeys being beaten to a pulp, cats, and dogs being pelted by stones to death. Not long ago, a video went viral, which left every soul devastated. In that video, a dog was tied to a car and was dragged across a road (ACF Animal Rescue, 2020). As if all the violence was not already enough, one horrendous act has recently gained momentum – Dog Culling.
Dog Culling seems to be a barbarity in disguise. The Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1890 is the main legislation regarding animals which includes pet dogs as well as stray dogs. The Act criminalizes the killing of any animal unnecessarily (Mariam Ihsan, 2019). However, on April 11th, 2020, an order was passed, instructing the city government to speed up the dog culling (Muzhira Amin, 2020). Almost daily, we come across at least one related case. A few months back, a video went viral of Bahria town, where the local authorities killed an innocent stray dog sleeping peacefully (Sansaka Talukdar, 2020). Not a single person came to help. The poor dog kept screaming in agony and eventually died a slow, excruciating death (Ushnah Shah, 2020). What could be a possible reason for such an innocent soul to die like this? What harm could he bring to anyone? What could he have done to deserve this?
Similarly, on May 9th, 2020, another innocent dog fed by the guards in the neighborhood was slowly poisoned to death by CBC (ACF Animal Rescue, 2020). A few weeks back, a video of Ayesha Chundrigar, founder of ACF Animal Rescue, went viral, which left every person speechless. The dogs that were treated for years, under their care, in their shelter, were freed to a lesser populated area to make room for new animals in need. They were feeding them since three years. The authorities chose to poison them as well. Not only were they killed, but a new level of sickness was also seen - the dogs were tied together after their bodies started convulsing in agony so that they do not run away for help. Dogs were beaten and tortured, and the wounds were apparent on their bodies. Hundreds of dogs, who were vaccinated and collared. What potential harm could they have done to anyone?
In Pakistan, especially in big cities like Karachi and Lahore, killing the dogs is considered the only solution to control the population of dogs, and hence rabies, but this is not the case. Ayesha Chundrigar confirms that killing the dogs only increases their population. When dogs see a decline in their species, they only reproduce more- survival of the fittest phenomenon (Ayesha Chundrigar, 2020). According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that the killing of the dogs alone will control their population and the spread of rabies (SAMAA, 2020). Therefore, dog culling is ineffective.
This raises a question if killing is not the solution, then what? NGOs, like ACF Animal Rescue, IPS Animal Rescue, JFK Animal Rescue and Shelter, Rabies free Pakistan, Animal Rescue and Transportation Services (ARTS), and many more, are working day and night for this cause. Along with Indus Hospital, ACF has been vaccinating the dogs against rabies and spaying/neutering them. The same is done by ARTS and Rabies Free Pakistan, who conduct such drives on a daily/weekly basis. Ayesha Chundrigar highlighted that these strays are a blessing in disguise, in such a stressful time of COVID-19, as they help you with anxiety (Ayesha Chundrigar, 2020). Anatole France once said,, "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remained unawakened."
As humans, we must fight against this inhumane barbarianism. If there are any dogs in your residence and the residents are threatening to get them killed, give a call to any of these organizations, and they will vaccinate and collar them. If the situation gets worse, ARTS is working 24/7 and can get the canines relocated as a last resort. In an extreme scenario, if a dog, or any other animal is to be put down, one must use humane ways, like euthanizing them. The canines are no danger, but we humans are the danger, against humanity. If humans can easily kill a voice-less being, with no form of guilt within, we should be terrified of what else we are capable of. We need to raise awareness on this inhumane issue – through ad campaigning and media. We need to protect the strays. Place a bowl of water and the leftovers for the stray canines and felines- who are so weak; just skins and bones- and birds, especially in the time of COVID-19. Donate to organizations working for this cause. Adopt/foster dogs from such shelters so they can in-take more—rescue animals. Be better humans. Be better citizens, quoting Mahatma Gandhi, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." Fight till the end. Live, and let live.
People worried as Sindh orders mass killing of stray dogs: SAMAA. (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://www.samaa.tv/news/pakistan/2020/04/people-worried-as-sindh-orders-mass-killing-of-stray-dogs/
Dog culling: Is it really necessary. (2019, November 25). Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://dailytimes.com.pk/506917/dog-culling-is-it-really-necessary/
Prasad, K. (2015, October 22). 12 animal quotes that will inspire you. Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://www.animalreikisource.com/12-animal-quotes-that-will-inspire-you/