“A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being”, said Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
Why can’t dogs and other animals be treated humanely and with respect? Food for thought for the insensitive people being a part of culling stray dogs. Verse 4 of Surah Al-Ma’idah in the Quran says, “Lawful for you are all good things, and (the prey) that trained (hunting) dogs and falcons catch for you”. Islamic republic Pakistan it is! We are in the 21st century with centuries-old thoughts. Islam does not allow any sort of violence against animals.
However, a mass culling of strays (poisoning and shooting) has been seen in Pakistan. In 2021, 25,000 dogs were planned to be culled within the period of 60 days. Karachi and Lahore are the top cities experiencing this barbaric campaign with other cities following this trend as well. This constant culling has angered the citizens and activists of animal rights a lot even when government officials say it is necessary because 5,000 people are dying of rabies every year. Activists ain’t convinced. The head of the Rabies Free Pakistan (RFP) project, Dr. Naseem Salahuddin said after the culling of stray dogs by the municipal authorities in Karachi, “You work from dawn to dusk, put in your best effort, spend time and resources, and they kill the dogs without any reason – it is like being stabbed at the back”. What has to be noted here is her efforts to vaccinate and neuter stray dogs. Officials said that it is necessary since vaccines for rabies are short in supply. One can certainly see the callousness and brutality here!
Around 800 stray dogs were poisoned by Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, which was criticized by animal rights activists and was termed as a violation of animal rights – Source: Stock Image
More than 6,000 strays have been neutered by Ayesha Chundigar Foundation (ACF) in the duration of 7 years. ACF filed a petition against this barbaric act in Sindh High Court but it is still in the process. However, these initiatives in our society are still a ray of hope in a society in changing the perception of many, gradually but effectively. Near are the days when each one of us will step out of our oblivion and negligence towards these street dogs.
Besides, the Pakistan Prevention of Cruelty Act 1890 has to be implemented strictly because its ineffectiveness has already made an easy process controversial and debatable. The act needs amendments and updates as well as to ensure guarding for all the animals in Pakistan and bring into line anti-cruelty measures with existing animal welfare science. Lastly, digital media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook should be used well enough in creating more awareness like the hashtags being used currently.