Stories about animal rights

From the jungle to the cage: Pakistan’s culture of keeping exotic animals as pets

I have been fighting against the mistreatment of animals in Pakistan for years now. Alongside other animal activists, however small in number, I have been trying to promote kindness and empathy towards all animals, domestic and working. However, what we activists did not anticipate was the sheer extent to which the sinister culture of keeping wild animals as pets in homes has become rooted in Pakistan. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, deers, bears, wolves, and more recently, giraffes can be found in various neighbourhoods in cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, among others. While this has been a cause for concern for decades, it appears ...

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The abyss where humanity comes to die

Lately I have found myself wondering whether the plethora of problems compounding Pakistan are a recent phenomenon or whether these ever present issues have just now been pushed into the spotlight due to social media. Courtesy of these online platforms, one almost feels that we are now living in a dystopian future. Global warming is on the rise, the economy is in shambles and worst of all, the collective conscience of the country seems to be in peril. Sexual harassment, rape and torture of women and children has now become so commonplace that it hardly even gets a mention on ...

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From Gilgit Baltistan to New York: Leo was lucky to escape the death cells that are Pakistan’s zoos

On a random Wednesday morning, I ended up strolling inside the Bronx Zoo in New York. Don’t ask me what I was doing at the zoo on a weekday, but I’ll tell you this: Wednesdays are free for visitors. Yes, this was a cheap move, but I was actually only having a stroll to see if this is a place I can bring my younger nieces to, should they visit me coming summer. At the Bronx Zoo, I met another visitor from Pakistan that I wouldn’t have imagined I would meet even in my wildest of imaginations. Hold on to your ...

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Why are we allowing the murder of animals?

To anyone who grew up in Pakistan, such as myself, it has always been taken for granted that animals are inherently ‘lower on the food chain’, so to speak. They have never been given much importance, and in the grand scheme of things, no one thinks of their rights. While humans have their own plights, as Pakistan can be a laborious and challenging place to reside in, animals go through the same, and often worse, struggles than we do. They do not have the capability to speak up for themselves, and so their circumstances are often not considered One such animal, ...

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The question was never about whether Harambe should have been shot or not

The killing of a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden on Friday has resulted in a total and complete social media meltdown. The incident has garnered rage, an outpouring of online-hate, as well as the sympathies of many. The severity of the incident depends on who you ask. Harambe, an endangered western lowland gorilla had just turned 17. The zoo even celebrated his birthday. But who would have thought that the primate would be shot to death the very next day? The reason this ape was killed was because a four-year-old fell into his enclosure. In the video it ...

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Stop killing our dogs, CBC!

“I came back home at night and found Sandy dead, my maid boy told me CBC van came and shot her, her body was just lying there covered in bullet wounds, her four puppies were left behind from which one died of poisoning, two were rescued by Mustafa Ahmed and the last one ran away and is yet to be found…” – Hira Sami These are the heart-breaking words of a citizen of Karachi who took care of Sandy the stray dog for the last two months. Coming home from work to find your beloved stray, one you’ve been taking ...

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Why sacrificing animals on Eidul Azha is a good ritual

Is everyone noticing the drastic reduction in the number of houses from which the familiar bleating sounds of goats and the authoritarian moo of cows can be heard this year? If television reports are to be believed, there are more animals available in the market for sacrifice than there are buyers. The reasons are many, and some of them are valid. Exorbitant asking prices of sellers are one. The portion you get in a cow is as expensive now as a goat used to be. Not every region of Pakistan is culturally attuned to beef, which remains the more economical ...

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Birth, confusing and perplexing, birth

The August night was frightening, confusing, perplexing. Hot, humid and sweaty… The room was pleasant, comfortable, properly lit and professionally decorated in muted, soothing hues of beige, gold and taupe. Tapestries artfully draped, artefacts tastefully displayed; everything oozed style and grace. The effortless elegance and oomph of old money inherited through generations, mere mortals can only think, or write about. A room, about to witness the first birth… The loudest, metropolitan city of the land of the pure was in complete darkness, thanks to power outage. Energy crisis was at its peak and on that particular night, the shortfall in electricity production was more than many thousand mega-watts. She whimpered in pain ...

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The bloody world of dog fighting: Victory or death, there is no mercy!

Warning: This post contains graphic content.  With the ongoing global and national humanitarian crisis that I have been witnessing, working on and voicing out, I had never fathomed the thought of discovering a blood sport that would send shivers down my spine. It may seem outlandish to some in Pakistan to show unease over animal rights, while we all know a bit too well how our basic human rights are persecuted. Nonetheless, blood sport, of any kind, is never acceptable and should not be tolerated in any way. Recently, I came across a Facebook page that encouraged dog fighting. Then, I saw a few horrifying videos of this ...

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A royal massacre

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 ...

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