Animal Cruelty: An Undermined Matter! - Maryam Salman

Animals, underestimated, not considered as equals, are species that help to maintain the ecological cycle. In spite of this, humans tend to ignore them and continue to act brutally towards these creatures. Born without the ability to express their emotions, humans exploit animals in many aspects. To start with, animals are being uncontrollably poached leading to mass extinctions. Pakistan's list of endangered species seems endless. According to WWF, leopards and Black Rhinos are two of the many critically endangered creatures. We have already lost thousands of different species but we still continue to hunt down them down, completely ignoring the destruction of the ecological balance.

Being the selfish creatures that we are, mankind does not care about the species residing in the mountains far in the north, deep down into the ocean, or far into the wilderness. Abominably, we continue to pollute and destroy the natural habitat of these voiceless beings. All of our acts have catastrophic effects on their innocent lives. Humans continue to engage in deforestation and construction in the northern areas. What we call 'exploring' the wild is basically an illegal 'occupation' of their homeland. We mercilessly take control of their homes, leaving these poor creatures destitute and homeless. This homelessness leads to the displacement of these animals who are then forced to reside in circumstances that are not meant for them. For instance, the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas have left snow leopards homeless. This leads to lack of proper food availability which ultimately results in death.

They are used as a source of entertainment. One of the main debates of today's world is whether or not animals should be used in circuses. Think of it as yourself being forced to perform for people and in case you refuse, you face starvation and physical punishment. No normal human being would agree to do such an act.Then why do we force the ones who do not have the ability to protest against our inhumane acts? Apart from being kept in an unhygienic environment, animals used in circuses are beaten up and are forced to perform tricks that are totally meaningless to them. In the countryside, the people are unaware of the atrocities they make these animals face and even in Pakistani villages, circuses are conducted annually. In severe cases, their claws and tusks are removed to force them into doing such acts.

Animals in captivity also go through a lot of troubles. In zoos, all the animals are kept under the same circumstances. Recently, the Islamabad Zoo came under fire when a complaint was registered that the elephant named 'Kavaan' had been mistreated for decades! When animals are kept in zoos, their natural habitat is overlooked and they are enclosed in cages where they are unable to move freely. All humans cannot live in the same environment. It's exactly the same way around. We should not bind all animals to live under the same circumstances, especially when their bodies are not made to adapt every environment.

Have you ever wondered about organized animal cruelty? We may think that it is not possible, but it exists even in this era. Till this date, in many areas including Mexico and Spain, bullfights and horse fights are one of the most awaited matches of the year. Not only the animals are injured, but many lose their lives in the battle. There has to be someone to end this injustice towards these animals!

The most dreadful act that a person can imagine is assault. In today's era, we have not even spared these innocent creatures and they have become a victim of the worst face of cruelty that could possibly exist. In Pakistan, Indus dolphin is raped as a local tradition! There's absolutely no one that speaks for their right. Such sexual assault is deeply triggering for most humans, then why is this injustice allowed to prevail? How self-absorbed we have become.

Ever wondered that why would someone keep pets if they abuse them? Even today, millions of dogs and cats are domestically abused by their owners.Animals are being looked down upon especially stray dogs. A common ritual is to ridicule them by throwing pebbles and stones. Little do we know about the consequences. Many get injured and some may lose their ability to walk.They are also a very common prey of starvation.

Instead of throwing away our food leftovers in the garbage, we should separate them for not only stray cats and dogs, but also the birds. This may take a few seconds out of our day but will have a great impact on the lives of these poor creatures. It will surely help reduce their sufferings to some extent.

Signing petitions and spending money towards organizations that work for animal welfare should be one of our top priorities. Volunteering for such organizations and promoting them will not only open ways for them, but will also help the destitute animals regain their rights and freedom. Some prominent organizations working in Pakistan include WWF, PAWS and Himalayan Wildlife Foundation.

Apart from this, we should turn a cold shoulder towards the circuses that promote animal cruelty. In fact, we should shun the use of everything that goes against basic animal rights. We must also provide funds to the organizations that provide shelter to the stray animals. What can be a bigger help than providing home to these animals? Adopt the homeless and helpless animals in order to protect them must be encouraged. One more thing that needs acknowledgement is the boycott of companies and products that use ingredients from animals and continue to hunt them down in order to promote their brands. Use of elephant tusks, horns etcetera should all be boycotted.

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