EVERY civilized country has its own comprehensive set of laws to prevent cruelty against animals.
Especially the European countries ever since the establishment of EU have established a wide range of legislative provisions concerning animal welfare. In our country, unfortunately, this matter has not been given much importance.
In Punjab, a law regarding the welfare of working animals has been pending since long and the result is that animals such as donkeys, horses and mules continue to face cruelty at the hands of their owners.
A department established for prevention of cruelty to these animals is also dysfunctional due to sheer neglect and shortage of funds.
There are still many sectors including coal mines, agriculture and brick kilns, where these working animals provide pack and cart services but the way they are abused and treated badly is a common and widespread scene.
These animals are overworked, under-fed and harshly beaten by their owners. Our great religion Islam also forbids treating animals in such a cruel manner and it is very explicit with regard to using animals for different purposes.
One Hadith quotes the Last Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as saying: “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being. ” Following on these lines, we must show compassion to the animals.
Whilst extending support to the NGOs working for the protection and welfare of animals, we will suggest Punjab as well as other provincial governments to come up with comprehensive pieces of legislation not only for the working animals but also the pet and wild animals in order to ensure their humane treatment.
The legislation should envisage strict punishment including fines and imprisonment against maltreatment and torture of animals besides ensuring they are kept in conducive environment.
The NGOs working for the welfare of animals can also advise the government regarding animal welfare policies and solutions.