|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
IVU in South & West Asia
The Plight of Pakistani Animals
Both birds and land animals are so frequently hunted as if they were an enemy army, including by some of the persons and organizations whose jobs are to protect animals and their lives. Members of our wildlife and forestry departments often aid the hunters, and even participate in the killing.
Bankers, industrialists, and politicians invite their foreign business partners, including Arabian princes, to come hunt even our rarest species--and to capture our vanishing wild falcons, to turn them into hunting weapons.
Local leaders and merchants show their influence by hosting cockfights, bear-baiting exhibitions, and other kinds of animal fight.
The condition of water creatures is also not good. Fish, tortoises and other aquatic species are losing their lives and habitat not only to nets, but also to explosives detonated to kill them by shock.
Hunting and fishing seasons supposedly exist to protect animals at least during the seasons when they raise their young, but poachers, even if they are captured by chance, usually escape serious punishment by paying a bribe. greasing the palm of executives, either by force, recommendation or bribe. Because there is no effective check on hunting and fishing, with either legal or illegal weapons, hunters and fishers kill animals by any means they wish, all year long.
Our few animal protection laws include the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890, which provides minor penalties for various types of abuse and neglect; penal code section 377, providing a prison sentence of up to two years for sexual intercourse with animals; and penal code section 429, which provides punishment for persons who kill, paralyze, or disable working animals and livestock.
All of these laws are written primarily to protect people against losing the value of the animals they keep. They do not protect animals for their own sake.
Neither are these laws enforced.
No one pays any attention to the ongoing loss of animal life in Pakistan. Many of our formerly indigenous species are now only seen in zoos, including elephants, lions, tigers, tree kangaroos, zebras, and wild pigs.
We are also losing such formerly common species as camels, buffalo, deer, wild cattle and goats, peacocks, pelicans, and even some of our once most abundant small birds and waterfowl.
Unrestrained hunting is the most visible cause of depleted animal life, but agricultural chemical spraying also takes an enormous toll on birds and other animals who ingest poisoned insects or plant material.
Logging is depleting forests, while tree replanting is not being done, despite public promises.
Our human population is increasing, as our animal population decreases, and this is wrongly accepted as inevitable, despite the examples of nations such as the U.S., Britain, Japan, and parts of Europe. These nations also experienced explosive human population growth during the latter part of the 20th century, but managed to greatly increase their wild animal populations by protecting endangered species and critical habitat, and restricting hunting to relatively short seasons, with strong wildlife law enforcement.
But the catastrophe to animal life in Pakistan is not restricted only to wild animals. There are few veterinary clinics in Pakistan, while many lifesaving veterinary drugs are neither made here nor imported. Even people who want to take good care of their working animals and pets have great difficulty doing so.
Under such circumstances, introducing effective wildlife rescue and rehabilitation can scarcely be imagined.
Many organizations claim to be the torch bearers for human rights in Pakistan, even as poorly as human rights are protected, but almost none champion animal rights, there is not even a single organization who claim to be the champion of animal rights.
There is no prominent or official encouragement of mercy and sympathy toward animals. We see no advertisements for animal protection in our news media. There are no essay contests of school children about why animals should be kindly treated. There are no pro-animal conferences or seminars.
But animals are slaughtered in public and eaten on some holidays as if their cries are unheard and they are as insentient as vegetables and fruits.
--Khalid Mahmood Qurashi