Cruelty to animals is not ‘Living on the Edge’

Published: October 22, 2013

Animals are abused, tortured and trampled upon for the sake of performing a 'dare'.

I recently caught the season finale of Living on the Edge (aired on October 16, 2013) and was appalled by the animal abuse taking place in the show. For those unfamiliar with Living on the Edge, it is a reality TV show in which contestants are given various challenges to see who is the most ‘daring’.

It is supposedly Pakistan’s ‘highest rated show amongst music channels’. While many critics consider the language and content to sometimes be in bad taste, my major objection is with the cruelty that the animals go through during these ‘dares’.

In the grand finale, amongst other dares, contestants were asked to hold four lizards in their mouth and do whatever they could to make each other drop their lizards. The contestants resorted to hitting and punching each other, resulting in the lizards being flung around and some of them even got trampled upon during the process. Another dare involved picking up mice from ones mouth and dropping them into a box.

The one dare that disturbed me the most involved opening a lock from the neck of a small monkey, who was shrieking loudly and was clearly distressed about being chained up in the presence of harsh media lights, loud music and a jeering crowd. After numerous attempts, the successful contestant finally pinned the monkey to the ground and unlocked the chain around its neck.

Our treatment of animals is a reflection of our moral and ethical standards as a society, assuming animal rights to be a luxury. While we as a society never fail to bring religion into every topic, on the issue of animal rights we blatantly disregard the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) examples and teachings.

I remember reading about an incident where the Prophet (pbuh) was outraged at his companions when they once took away the chicks of a bird to see how she would react. Seeing the bird distressed and flapping her wings, the Prophet asked as to who had hurt the feelings of the bird by taking its chicks. He urged them to return the chicks to. Hence, if distressing a bird was considered offensive, terrifying and manhandling a monkey for purposes of entertainment would surely count as cruelty.

The show brings into stark focus the lack of animal welfare laws in our country. The current Animal Protection Act 1890 dates back to colonial times with very few amendments since. There is also a need for ethics, standards and guidelines to be developed by PEMRA for the use of animals in the media.

It is high time that we work upon protecting and upholding animal rights in our society.

Tamreez Inam

Tamreez Inam

A freelance international development consultant who having graduated from McGill and Oxford University, worked for organisations such as Oxfam and the United Nations. Tamreez volunteers with Inspire Pakistan- a campaign to promote inspirational initiatives in Pakistan". She tweets @tamreezinam (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • ahmad

    what about the mass slaughtering on eid?Recommend

  • m.

    Thank you for bringing this up. Living on the edge is in bad taste for many reasons but this certainly tops the callousness‎ meterRecommend

  • Anshuman Tripathy

    This show is a bad rip-off of MTV Roadies hosted by Raghuram and his henchmen. The interview process is complete BS. The guy doesn’t ask what the contestant’s talents are or what he is good at or to just talk about himself or what he is passionate about. The only thing he keeps mumbling is “Kuch Daring Karke dikhao”. Like Drinking a bottle of Mountain Dew is the most challenging & difficult task on planet earth. Although I have to give credit to this show for being unintentionally funny all the time.
    Although Roadies is equally trashy from an Indian perspective, the tasks they give are genuinely challenging and fun to watch. Also the interview rounds are amazingly entertaining :p. I bet Raghuram will rip Waqar Zaka to shreds and have him for breakfast if he ever auditioned for Roadies.Recommend

  • Pro Bono Publico

    Very thoughtful & very well expressed. AgreedRecommend

  • Muhammad Saim

    I wonder how could you watch the entire show….i couldn’t even read the entire blog….so disgusting……….not the blog but the program it describes.Recommend

  • The Shaikh

    I guess bringing religion into the article is not asked for.

    Its a humanitarian issue and shall be delt with respect by all religions.Recommend

  • raj

    No one watches the show.. its just waste of time. the host thinks that if you can do a dare, you are everything and pity, people are so dumb to participate in it. Roadies (indian) is far better and every care is taken to ensure contestants are safe and there is no cruelty. The point of reality show is to see hoe people live with each other not just fighting..Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    It’s bad enough that we (including myself) kill animals and eat their flesh, when there are other economical, environment-friendly options available for our sustenance.

    But it’s plain evil to point and laugh at a suffering animal. Anybody who takes pleasure in another living creature’s anguish, needs to think long and hard about the costs of keeping him entertained.Recommend

  • Maheen Khan

    when humans are not safe here you talking about animals?Recommend

  • Ali Tahir

    What surprises me most is that people actually watch that showRecommend

  • Ali Syed

    We are the followers of the same prophet (pbuh) who placed guards around a female dog and her puppies, instead of making them move, in order to save them from being trampled by the passing by Muslim army.Recommend

  • Parvez

    This is even worse than watching Aamir Liaquat doing his ramzaan tamasha.
    I had no idea there was such a show on TV……….this just endorses the fact that the humane standards of a people are reflected by the way animals are treated by them and it goes without saying we must be somewhere near the bottom.Recommend

  • Hasnain

    Wah Wah… really appreciate what you feel.. Cruelty to animals,, but never speak up against raw killings and heinous crimes against children and women….Recommend

  • rasgullah

    A nation`s greatness can be judged by the way it treats its animalsRecommend

  • Sameer

    Waqar Zaka should be banned from TV. Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    What if the animal being tortured was the host?Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ali


  • Haider

    I hope you are an atheist vegetarian thenRecommend

  • crazy canuck

    You can judge the morality of a nation by the way the society treats animals – Gandhi. Anyone surprised at all?Recommend

  • Sppock

    Millions of animals were brutally slaughtered just few days ago and their parts scatter the city. Any words for them?Recommend

  • just_someone

    Torture/abuse is very different from sacrifice.
    Please understand the difference!Recommend

  • just_someone

    Extremely disgusting what they are apparently doing to these animals.
    Animal rights groups should sue the makers of the show to stop this stupidity.
    Im honestly glad I left Pakistan more than a decade back, this really would have disturbed me a lot more if I actually lived in Pakistan.Recommend

  • FJ

    Glad that someone noticed and brought this up. People should be penalized for treating animals like that.Recommend

  • adnan

    living on the edge… nice song by Aerosmith. :-)Recommend

  • Shaheid

    It is because of people like you that our country will never progress. You just HAVE to find fault, find something missing(even if it’s irrelevant) in a 300 word article and give your two cents in a condescending tone, without stopping to appreciate the merits of the content within the article. eg. When malala happens to advocate education, you have to scream “hey why not drones”. For the record, the writer never dismissed or belittled the heinous crimes against children and women. She spoke against cruelty to animals, a subject which even the greatest of examples in the history of mankind gave great importance to- be it the Prophet Muhammad, or Jesus or Lord Buddha, even in the midst of pressing concerns, like a war.Recommend

  • Hira Khan

    This is stupidity & Immaturity in its purest form! I’m disgusted to see the kind of things people can do in order to gain fame and fortune! These individuals instead of doing something productive in life are fooling around & spreading Negativity. It is so ironic that the same individuals say “We need to Bring A Positive Change in Pakistan”, Well Please leave that to those who actually care about their country! As far as animal rights are concerned, they will only realize if they are treated the same way like these animals were. ONLY PAIN CAN MAKE THEM REALIZE.Recommend

  • bcalvillo

    Every country uses animals to line their pockets. In the U.S. television shows about hunters are popular. It’s a sad state of affairs.Recommend

  • water bottle

    Let me augment you.

    Even breaking a block of cement or jumping with a rope tied around your body are not dares.

    Dare is when you look into the government servant’s eyes and say ‘no’, when he asks for a bribe.

    Dare is when you not jump a signal even at the night because that’s the right thing to do.

    Dare is following your dream to becoming somebody in life instead of following the herd like a sheep to become an engineer or a doctor.

    Such shows are abominations. Shows like Big boss, Emotional atyachar…etc.Recommend

  • Anshuman Tripathy

    Dude you dont get to lecture me on social issues & obeying traffic rules. I am an adult who knows how to take care of himself and the people around him. I have been involved in many social and political causes from the 2011 Anna movement to the Nirbhaya Case last year. I have also been a volunteer teacher for many underprivileged children in chennai. And yes I still like to watch Roadies for entertainment. Stop with the ‘Holier than thou’ attitude coz its gets annoying after a while. Chill maar bhai mere.Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    Such kind of programs being on Aired worldwide, even if they mistakenly acted violent against Animals they should be criticized on a particular act I can see people are passing sweeping statements against the program but I am sure nobody would ever written a proper complaint to ARY Management against this particular episode. Guys be patient, just don’t criticized each and everything they do. Learn to criticized rather than jumping on Waqar Zaka just because everybody hates him due to his appearance.Recommend

  • water bottle

    That’s fine.

    But what kind of an adult confuses an augment to a lecture?

    I feel sorry for myself for writing the comment thinking that you would understand what I meant.

    Besides, you should have at least thought that I don’t know you to know your habits or nature to lecture you.

    :) Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    If they kidnapped the host from the street and tortured him against his will on camera, I’ll be happy to protest…if he doesn’t file a lawsuit himself.Recommend

  • ahmed

    the rational of killing an animal for food is another thing, but rational of killing for some ritual or torture abuse for fun/game is out of comprehension. there is no logicRecommend

  • Yusra Mansoor Rao

    Totally disagreed – In this way the west should ban its circuses where animals are specially trained just do so – please refrain from spreading hatred against someone as Waqar Zaka who is atleast doing something original to promote Pakistani Talent.

  • mano

    I would say we should ignore such programs so that not to give them any publicity but electronic media creates a great impact on people, specially because of the lower literacy rate in Pakistan. Media can educate people, teach them wrong and right. I saw Waqar tweeting about how these are wild animals and not cute pets but they are all living beings. No one deserves cruelty and lizards being hit around and baby monkeys being untreated is cruelty. Teach people to be kind to each other and to other living things, do not teach that its ok to be cruel to wild animal.Recommend

  • AK

    And the difference would be?Recommend

  • Amna

    Good effort! LOTE is no doubt the entertaining show but dare should be about physical exercise, not about abusing animals and eating ugly thingsRecommend

  • Ahmed Saeed

    Nobody watches ARY. They are getting desperate with the content and murdering animals in the processRecommend

  • lalit

    Dude did u get what he meant.dont make yourself a loughing stock by reacting like a jerk.and now i must start worrying about anna and nirbhaya movements.your ego seems bigger than you.Recommend