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Animal cruelty is a punishable offence in Pakistan again

New law will be drafted to end animal torture

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 8, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jan 8, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Animal cruelty is a punishable offence in Pakistan again

Photo: AFP

After years of petitions, the government is finally taking steps to end the plight of animals in the country.

It has reinstated fines imposed on animal cruelty and is drafting new laws for their rights. A draft has been prepared and will soon be presented in the National Assembly.

“The law against animal torture in Pakistan [the Prevention to Cruelty to Animal Act, 1890] was introduced in 1890,” said Punjab Minister for Livestock and Dairy Development Sardar Husnain Bahadar on SAMAA TVs programme Naya Din.

The law has different fines for torturing animals or practicing any unlawful practices with them ranging from Rs50 to Rs500. It has between 10 and 12 categories under which people are fined, such as forcing animals to carry heavy weights, hurting them and not providing them proper treatment in case of an injury.

“The point is that this amount back in that time was equal to millions which shows that the lawmakers then too were against animal abusers,” Bahadar said. However, four years ago, these fines were removed by the government.

“In September 2019, they were reinstated in two cities of Punjab–Lahore and Sheikhupura,” he said. Almost 200 people have been fined so far.

Ayesha Chundrigar, founder of the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation, however, believes that fines are not enough to stop animal abuse.

“Donkeys are one of those animals that are highly abused in the country,” she said. “But we can’t blame or fine the donkey owners for this because it is not really their fault,” Chundrigar said.

She blamed the lack of awareness programmes for the mistreatment. “Donkey owners are some of the biggest daily wagers in the country, but they don’t have any unions, medical treatment or education regarding their animals,” she explained.

This was just one animal Chundrigar spoke about; there are birds and other animals that are also tortured.

To this, the livestock minister said that fines will only be imposed on those who deliberately torture animals, not those who do it unintentionally.

“We have started running campaigns in more than 17 districts of the province where awareness of animal rights is given to people,” he added.

In a lot of cases, people put helping animals as a secondary concept. “Are we first going to solve the problems of everyone else and then come to animals?” the animal rights activist asked.

“If these fines are implemented and a new law is enacted, people will start respecting animals,” she said, calling it a snow-ball effect.

Awareness is truly spread when laws are put in place, Chundrigar said.

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