A society for animal welfare

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Al-Watan newspaper

A FEW days ago the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture announced the establishment of a society for animal welfare following the Ministry of Labor and Social Development’s approval. The aim of this association is to raise awareness of animal rights and provide them with adequate sheltering and caring facilities. It will also prevent negligence and meet aspirations of animal right activists, provide them with necessary support and training. It will be given an official status to make use of its members’ energy and voluntary services in cooperation with the ministry and government and private entities as per the existing regulations and instructions.

In my opinion the formation of an animal welfare society is a wise decision by the ministry, especially our Islamic faith stands for peace and mercy and calls for showing kindness to animals. The presence of such a society is vital to ensure safety of animals and protect them from diseases and dangers, whether environmental or cruelty. We have seen and heard about people torturing animals such as shooting down cats or hanging and driving dogs and poisoning animals in general. There must be deterrent and clear penalties to prevent cruelties against animals.

As an activist involved in rescuing stray animals and finding shelter for them, I have noticed the urgent need for such animal welfare associations to monitor shops selling animals as they exploit these innocent beings for inhuman purposes such as offering them for mating and neglecting them when they fall sick. People often throw them alive into garbage containers and these incidents often take place in Hammam market. Some shopowners keep cats and dogs in small cages and these pet animals will not be able to move. These instances indicate that individuals use animals for making monetary gains, trading and amusement without showing any mercy toward them.

I am sure that this association will do its best to take care of animals. However, I would like to point out that there should be good cooperation and coordination between the society and the Ministry of Health, especially with the department to control infectious diseases. This will help reduce cases of diseases among animals and find a more rapid and effective mechanism to deal with contagious diseases among birds and animals.

Following the outbreak of bird flu, thousands of infected birds were culled contrary to the principle of showing mercy to animals. In order to stop these violations we have to activate international laws and standards for dealing with animals, beginning from shops that sell pet animals to poultry and livestock production centers.

Measures should also be taken to protect stray animals and develop a realistic method to shelter them, like cats and dogs. Licenses must be issued to open shelters by specialists from agricultural and environmental colleges and veterinarians. We should also allow them to launch their own initiatives under the umbrella of competent government agencies to reduce the phenomenon of stray animals with community support.

For example, a person can adopt a cat from the shelter without paying any charge. If we implement this method successfully and efficiently people will stop going to shops that sell cats for SR3,000.

Enhancement of the society's awareness will help reduce trade of animals and indifference of people toward caring them. There is no doubt that this society will become successful because of our need for it and as long as we remember the story of a woman who was promised Paradise by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for providing water to a thirsty animal and the story of a man who was given the glad tiding by the Prophet (pbuh) that he will get a place in the Paradise.


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