The Darker Side of Elections: Animal Cruelty on the Rise

Emotions ran high in the 2018 General Elections, and supporters of different political parties that were campaigning did not hold back from exchanging harsh words, and heated debate over the best and worst candidates, in particular, PMLN supporters went head to head against PTI supporters. Many became victims of public slander, but the ones who suffered the most weren’t even human. Animals became the victim of hate against political parties. Many cases of animal abuse have been reported, and a social media outcry has been brought to the attention of authorities and so far, only one perpetrator has been arrested.

The first such case of brutality towards animals that was brought to light was of a poor donkey that was tortured by people aiming to take their frustrations off on PMLN. The names of PMLN leaders were written on the donkey, and then it was horrifically abused. The donkey was beaten until it collapsed and was then rescued by the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation (ACF). The donkey’s nose was broken, it had ligature marks on it, a car was rammed several times into its body, and its nostrils were ripped apart. The donkey was treated for the injuries. He was named firefly by the volunteers at the foundation.

Another incident surfaced in the form of a video; a dog wrapped in a PTI flag was shot by two men. After a few seconds of agonized screams, the dog whimpers, falls unconscious and dies.

Animal cruelty has always been ignored in Pakistan, and in some areas promoted. The country should be thankful for organizations like ACF who rescue street animals, and give them a home. In the recent years, animal rights activists all over the nation have taken to fostering animals until they are adopted into loving homes.

This still does not change the fact that people in Pakistan have no respect for animal lives. Furthermore, it makes absolutely zero sense to hurt a harmless animal that has done absolutely no wrong, in the name of political hatred.

The animals don’t belong to any political party; they do not have any ulterior motive.

The poor animals cannot even speak for themselves or defend themselves; they can only howl in pain when humans take it upon themselves to injure them over fallacious reasoning. Some don’t even bother justifying their crimes; after all, animals can’t press charges against them or take them to court.

If Mr. Imran Khan really wants to change Pakistan into his ideal, “Naya Pakistan,” he will need to guide the appropriate authorities to form legislation that protects animals from abuse, and that ascertains punishment for abusers.

Animals share the planet with us. We eat them, make clothes out of their skin, we keep them for pets, and sadly, we often discard them when they are no longer of use for us. We must establish shelters where street animals can seek refuge, and live out the rest of their days in a clean, healthy and safe environment.

Animals are to be loved and cherished, not hunted down and abused, but if it is the latter we choose, which one of us is the animal?

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