The business of freeing sparrows is growing and many of the animals are used in witchcraft. There are about 5.2 million stray dogs in Pakistan and their abuse is ‘linked to religion’.
Pet owners in Pakistan take proper care of their pets out of love for them. In contrast, the so-called abandoned and stray animals, which include dogs, cats and donkeys, have to bear the harshness of the seasons as well as human cruelty. Humans who oppress such abandoned animals throw stones at them to get rid of them or out of hatred for them and even cut off their ears etc.
There are also some government-funded institutions in Pakistan that work to prevent animal cruelty and abuse. At the same time, there are departments at the level of many local bodies, which in certain circumstances start “dog killing” campaigns to destroy such stray animals.
There are also many non-governmental organizations and institutions in different cities of Pakistan that are continuing their efforts to rescue injured and abandoned animals and provide them shelters with the funds of private donations.
There is also Critters Ark Welfare Organization (CAWO), which has been rescuing and treating injured and abandoned animals in the federal capital Islamabad, its twin city Rawalpindi and nearby areas for many years. Critters Ark is headed by Anila Umeer, who has been continuing her efforts in this regard for the past eighteen years.
Talking to DW, Anila Umeer said that her organization not only rescues and treats injured animals and birds and provides shelter to them, but at the same time, it also works against the illegal sale and purchase of animals. . He said that in most cases such animals come to them, which have been injured after hitting a vehicle etc.
There are currently more than a hundred animals at Critter’s Ark’s Islamabad shelter house. Most of them are those who were rescued. After their treatment, the rescued animals are either adopted by various animal loving families or they are placed in the shelter house of the same organization where they continue to be cared for.
Why animal abuse?
“Parents need to be especially careful in training their children,” Anila Umeer, while criticizing the trend of animal abuse in Pakistani society and the attitudes of common parents in this regard, told DW. When they stone the animals themselves, the children will learn the same. Such awareness campaigns also need to be conducted in schools. When parents and teachers themselves love animals and teach the same to children, children will learn to love animals instead of hating them. Apart from this, at least one compulsory course on animal rights and welfare should also be included in the curriculum.
Speaking to DW, the head of Critters Ark added, “Most of our society hates dogs and cats too. These public attitudes are often associated with religion, which is inappropriate and wrong. In this way, the behavior of ordinary citizens is also badly affected.
Cruelty to animals outside mosques and shrines
Anila Umair gave two examples of cruelty to animals and said, “Many people are sitting outside mosques and shrines with caged birds. It is said that these sparrows should be bought and set free for charity and reward, although this is also a criminal business of stealing money from simple people. Because it is still illegal to catch and cage these birds and then sell them. Just imagine that the birds that come out of their nests to bring seeds etc. to the children, are caught and locked in cages and their hungry children in the nests wait for their parents to return. This is extreme cruelty instead of charity and reward.
He further said, “Similarly, monkeys used for sports spectacles are also cruelly treated.” They are forced by beating and starving to obey Madari and perform at his command. Whenever we see such an animal, we immediately report it to the police and rescue it. “Until law enforcement is implemented in society, animal cruelty will continue.”
Cruelty to animals is increasing
Mohammad Ali Khan, a resident of Bani Gala in Islamabad, has been involved in rescuing animals for the last ten years, as well as buying and selling pets. He told DW that as human rights violations have increased in the society, animal rights violations and animal cruelty have also increased.
According to Muhammad Ali, the state of violation of animal rights in Pakistan is that last year a bear was shot and its cub’s ears were cut off. “But shortly after, when the bear cub was thought to be sold, the ears of the bear cub were reattached to Elfie due to fears that the price would be low due to the ears being cut off,” he said.
Use of birds in witchcraft
He also said that many people contact him to buy owls but he denies that he does not have any owls. According to Ali Khan, such persons regularly admit that they want an owl so that they can cut off the bird’s legs and use them for witchcraft.
He further said that the dogs that he rescues are either injured due to a collision with a vehicle etc. or they are severely injured by stone pelting by ordinary citizens. Ali Khan also emphasized that in order to increase public awareness about animal rights and to end animal cruelty in Pakistan, parents have to change the way they train their children. It should be known that animals cannot speak, but they also feel pain and suffering, like all of us human beings.
According to the National Institute of Health, the number of stray dogs in Pakistan is about five million. About 50,000 of these dogs are killed every year during various government campaigns. During this time, no attempt is made to see whether a dog is really dangerous.
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