Most of us who have had a chance to keep pets at home can relate to the fact that we become deeply attached to them. We “feel” their absence, their pain, their love, and their affection towards us. We often share an unbreakable bond with these pets. Some of us then realize that all animals deserve the same love and kindness as our pets. It greatly disturbs us when we see some of them suffer on the streets or elsewhere. No wonder all these animals are worthy of our kindness and compassion.
In Pakistan, it is indeed praiseworthy that some commendable work is being done for the rescue and shelter of animals. I have also observed that netizens in Pakistan have started raising their voices for this cause on social media platforms as well. However, I believe that more needs to be done concerning it. I contend that the government, affluent philanthropists, and religious figures in Pakistan can contribute the most and in the best way to this cause. Not only can their actions have a great impact on this noble cause, but they can also prevent animal abuse in the future. There are numerous ways in which this can be practically implemented. Some of them are:
It is very important to increase awareness about animal abuse as well as to promote kindness and compassion towards animals. Our esteemed religious scholars in Pakistan can play the best role here. Discussions about kindness towards animals by religious figures should air on Pakistani TV programs. Friday sermons should include these topics. Coming from these influential religious personalities, the masses in Pakistan will understand that treating animals with compassion is part of our Faith. There are many religious sayings and incidents that indicate the significance of treating animals kindly. For instance, most of us are familiar with the story of how a devout religious woman suffered punishment from God for her cruel treatment of a cat.
The other major contribution here can be from the government of Pakistan. We are all familiar with those public service messages from the government. I assert that, officially, on a government level, efforts should be made to promote kindness towards animals. In the past, there have been some laudable efforts aimed at raising awareness about various societal issues in Pakistan. The same needs to be done for animals. Doing so will have two major effects. First, it will demonstrate that those in power are serious about compassion towards animals, and those not complying with this will have to face consequences. Secondly, it will offer strength and moral support to those who are privately advocating this noble cause.
Another noble way the government of Pakistan can help is to contribute, support, and promote not-for-profit organizations such as ACF Animal Rescue. In my opinion, this Foundation is doing extremely praiseworthy work for this noble cause. The government can advertise humanitarian efforts of this Foundation. Likewise, the affluent philanthropists in Pakistan should also aid such non-profit organizations financially. In fact, in this regard, these wealthy individuals in our society can play the most pivotal role as far as contribution (in monetary terms) is concerned.
Another major action that needs to be taken on a government level is to ban hunting in all its forms. As far as I have understood, hunting animals for leisure is forbidden as per the injunctions of our religion. Thus, hunting for recreational purposes should be totally prohibited as per Pakistani law too. In fact, this should be discussed in our assemblies and parliament. The violators of the enacting law (concerning hunting) should be punished severely to set a precedent for others. Also, it should be ensured that the same strict laws apply to foreign tourists visiting Pakistan. They should not be allowed to hunt any animal or bird.
Animals as a means of transport or for entertainment
It is extremely heartbreaking to see animals being used as a means of transportation, even in urban areas in Pakistan. In the 21st century, where there are alternative means of transportation available, it is shameful and cruel to use animals as labor or for commuting. The government ought to take action to stop the use of animals for load-carrying. Instead, people should be provided alternative means of transport (or labor activities) at a reasonable price by the government. This will ensure that no animal (donkey, camel, or horse) is burdened with any kind of load.
Another detestable activity that should be prohibited officially is using animals for leisure. Whether it is using those animals in circuses or for stunts, such activities should be banned altogether. First, it is inhumane to do so. Secondly, what makes it worse is that those involved in such businesses do not even take care of these animals, who are their source of income! For them, the animal is simply an “object” and not a “living, sentient being.” Owing to this, these people are indifferent to the pain, hunger, and suffering of these animals that they “exploit” for their own livelihood.
Zoos and aviaries
“Kindness to Animals” also demands that the powerful and influential empathetically take care of the animals and birds in the zoos and aviaries in Pakistan. The recent tragic incident of “Nur Jehan”, the elephant, was a heartbreaking one for many of us. I assert that there should be an inspection of the animals that are kept in the zoo. While most of us feel that there shouldn’t be any zoos in the first place, I believe that the least we can do is ensure that the lives of these animals in zoos are better than those of the animals outside zoos. It should be ensured that these animals and birds are being fed properly. Their health and overall well-being should be taken care of.
In conclusion, it is imperative that efforts be made to protect the animals and birds in our immediate environment. Compassion towards these sentient beings, I believe, is divine, noble, and great. Not only is it beloved by the Almighty, but it is what completes us as “human beings”. We “humans” are referred to as the “best of all creation” by the Almighty. I believe we qualify for this honorable title if we take care of the rest of His creation. Let’s begin by raising our voices for those who cannot do so for themselves, taking care of their needs, and ensuring that we minimize their suffering. Interestingly, in this also lie our own gains. In the words of Rumi,
“When we practice loving kindness and compassion, we are the first ones to profit.”