The process is quite painful
A video has gone viral on social media which shows men cutting the horns of a bull while it lies in pain on the side of a road. They then put hot iron on the wound to stop the blood flow, a technique known as cauterisation, as the animal whimpers.
An investigation into the video revealed that this practice is not new. There are dehorning specialists who cut horns to enhance the beauty of animals before bringing them to the market before Eidul Azha. Some specialists inject drugs to lessen the pain, while others do it without any sedatives and it results in significant acute pain.
Abdul Waheed Gaddi, who works in the dairy sector, said customers generally prefer bulls without horns. Some farmers dehorn their bulls at a young age by throwing acid at them, while others cut the horns of bulls with saws and clutch wire and this leaves them wounded. The wounds don’t go away even after they are given medicines.
There was a time when dehorning specialists were found in Punjab and rural Sindhi, but now they work in Bhains Colony and other areas in Karachi. They charge up to Rs5,000 to dehorn bulls.
Abdul Waheed said that only bulls that are heavy or beautiful are dehorned as the vendors think they will fetch a good price for them.
Junaid Quraishi, an animal vendor, shared that vendors not only dehorn their animals but, sometimes, remove their teeth too. The process is quite painful.
This is done to deceive the customers. Vendors remove the teeth of their cows and bulls to hide their age. Cattle with two teeth are said to be two-and-a-half years old, while those with four teeth are four years old.
Mufti Muhammad Zubair, a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology, termed such acts to be “cruel” and “inhumane”. It is not permissible to cut off their horns or remove their teeth to enhance their beauty and hide their age. “How can such an animal even be sacrificed?”
If the horns are cut from the root, then it leaves a wound so such an animal cannot be sacrificed. Even the animal has not been harmed in the process it still can’t be sacrificed according to Shariah, he added.
Animals are treated cruelly in Pakistan, said Mahera Omar of the Pakistan Animal Welfare Society. It’s quite sad that we see videos of animal cruelty being shared on social media every day.
Disfiguring and cutting off the horns of sacrificial animals is a cruel act, she said, adding that it is the responsibility of the local government to keep a check on vendors and punish people involved in such crimes.
People should also ensure that they don’t buy animals which have been abused or injured. It is the responsibility of the animal inspectors to ensure that the rights of animals are not violated. They should report violators and take action against them.