A royal massacre

Published: April 24, 2014

Saudi prince goes on a hunting spree in Pakistan and kills 2100 houbara bustards. PHOTO: AFP

Saudi prince goes on a hunting spree in Pakistan and kills 2100 houbara bustards. PHOTO: REUTERS Saudi prince goes on a hunting spree in Pakistan and kills 2100 houbara bustards. PHOTO: AFP

It is one thing to be a bystander to animal cruelty but it is an entirely different thing to stormily strike and wound a living creature and then have the nerve to back your sadism with a very exasperating false impression of royalty.

A  Saudi prince comes to our homeland, gets a ‘special permit’ to kill a 100 protected houbara bustards, multiplies 100 by 21 and without any hesitation winds up by killing nearly 2100 birds instead. What’s even more appalling is how easily this royal walks away from this heinous indulgence without being stopped or having to face any repercussion.

Since when does following no rules and limits become a perk of being a member of any royal family?

I understand that this prince may think of himself as too high and mighty to think twice about the life of a bird. He may also choose to back his thinking by the lucid anatomical and mental disparities between him and the bird, but my question is, how did he decide that these variations, between humans and animals, are substantial enough to cause such immense inequalities?

It is worthy also to nail down that men and women too have anatomical and mental disparities since I am yet to find a man capable of giving birth or to come across a woman who is chromosomally same as a man. Yet, we very proudly consider the notion of treating men and women as equals to one another. The same is true when we are fighting for the rights of minority segments or against racial discrimination.

In all the above scenarios, we are rightfully not letting deviations in human beings become important enough to legitimise inequalities. It is sad then, to witness sheer dichotomy in our approach when it comes to animals. So maybe we just consider fellow humans as our equals and not non-humans. But then my question is, how can we choose to do so whilst living in an ecological system where humans are not self- sufficient and are highly dependent on animals for survival?

It is important to remember that we share our planet with these animate beings and that every being on this planet is there for a reason; the least we can do is attach some value to their lives. It is utterly disconcerting to me how the supposedly progressive mind-set of this prince, with a pool of possibly many self-endowed platitudes, chooses to demonstrate sheer negligence when it comes to the life of these birds.

When we think of a bird we think of many physical attributes- feathers, wings and beaks? But then there is one body part that we very conveniently choose to ignore – the beating heart.

Does it not mean that a bird too is a living creature that deserves some amount of consideration for its life?

I am concerned about the sort of mentality we are endorsing when we choose to limit this consideration with checking whether the one taking this life is an Arab royal or not.

It may be worthy to point out that the population of houbara bustard is rapidly declining. This too is largely accredited to us humans. The imprudent hunting is responsible for the virtual annihilation of the specie. It is about time we start taking pertinent measures to create awareness among the people about the importance of safeguarding animal rights and reverse what we ourselves have started.

Animals like humans have feelings. They can, like humans, feel pain – both mental and physical. What they cannot do like humans is speak for themselves and hence they need to have someone speak on their behalf. That is one thing they are dependent on us humans for and we should not let them down.

Ammarah Aftab

Ammarah Aftab

The author has completed her bachelors from NUST and is looking to encourage respect and value for all living creatures. She tweets as @ammarah_aftab (twitter.com/ammarah_aftab)

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