Killing Stray Dogs in The Name of Necessity
It was a usual, sunny spring afternoon when driving by F-8 Marrkaz I passed by a couple of kids, no more than 12 to 13 years of age, throwing pebbles at a resting stray dog. As I was watching the two giggling at the seemingly harmless act, I couldn’t help but be thrown back my second grade Islamiat text book that told the story of a woman whose sins were forgiven for her kindness to a dog dying of thirst. And it made me wonder how a country so passionate about a religion that preaches kindness, often be so cruel to helpless animals.
Every few years our authorities decide to go on a killing spree in attempts to wipe out the stray dog population because apparently that seems like the only way to prevent diseases like rabies. Because sanity and sobriety? Wo kia hota hai?
Only a year ago, NGOs along with a part of the internet community in Pakistan were up in arms when Karachi University left poisoned meat around its campus to kill stray dogs followed by KMC’s mass murder of stray dogs by poisoning and culling. But despite all the Facebook wars against the abhorrent and merciless act, here we are a year after the incident and yet no measures have been taken by authorities to prevent such a fiasco from happening again. No bills were passed, no dog shelters set up and no immunisation centres established.
If you’re one of those people who think that what happened last year will never happen again, hate to break it to you but who are you kidding? Every year thousands of people die of rabies which results in our authorities losing their minds for a few months during which time helpless stray dogs are subjected to the uncouth and barbaric “solution” proposed by our people.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I totally understand the whole counter-argument that a country plagued with all kinds of issues regarding the healthy and safety of its citizens cannot afford to invest in the lives of dogs rather than humans. The government should most definitely prioritise the safety of its people over the safety of animals, and culling does seem like the cheapest solution to the problem. However, the argument raises an important concern, while culling may be the cheapest option available, is it the most effective?
The WHO Experts Consultation on Rabies’ answers that for us. Culling does not have real impact on controlling rabies. Not only is it a short-lived solution but also a ruthless and inefficient one. The World Health Organisation advocates the long-term Animal Birth Control or ABC strategy of catch, neuter, vaccinate and release as the only humane and effective way of combating rabies, not going a shooting rampage (shocker, ain’t it?).
It’s about time we start raising a voice against the barbaric treatment of helpless animals and fight against our all-encompassing need to exercise control over anything and everything that breathes. The first step to recovery is always recognising the problem. All we ask is that you raise a voice against the atrocities that these animals are subjected to every year. If nothing else, at the very least we need to recognise that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with.