A different level of evil

Mutilating animals makes mockery of Eidul Azha

In Sanghar district, a horrific crime was committed when a local landlord and five henchemend chopped off the leg of a she-camel after she wandered into the landlord’s fields and damaged his crops. The poor animal was rushed to Karachi, where she is being kept and where she will receive a prosthetic limb. The culprits have been arrested, and the Sanghar police has become doubly vigilant after the camel’s owner was reported to have been murdered.

That was not the only tale of man’s cruelty towards fellow creatures. In Rawat, in Rawalpindi district, a donkey’s ears were cut off after it disappeared for a couple of days. The donkey’s owner accused a local rival of the crime. Their rivalry seems rooted in a land dispute, with the accused having won four of 13 cases between them. Though they are relatives, the donkey’s owner was accused of having murdered the father of the alleged ear-cutter. The law contains remedies for all grievances, and there seems to have been no need to go to animals, except under some misguided sense of causing the owner pain. The camel’s depredations are defined as the crime of mischief, for which the punishment is a three-month sentence, apart from the civil remedy of suing for damages. Damaging the camel, on the other hand, carries a five-year sentence, as does damaging or maiming any other animal worth more than Rs 50. Surely a donkey cannot be got for Rs 50 nowadays.

That such brutal crimes have been committed on animals to coincide with Eidul Azha is a mockery of the sacred day. We are forcibly reminded that Islam has not taken the easy way out of veganism or vegetarianism, but has made it obligatory to carry out the sacrifice with as little suffering for the sacrificial animal as possible. The need to vent one’s spleen on poor dumb animals, dragging them into human quarrels, is not just cruel, but savage. As the director of the NGO that received the maimed camel from Sanghar said, “This is a different level of evil.” There is little that can deter such crimes. This is the impulse behind cock-fighting and dog-fighting, the latter of which is supposedly illegal, but are popular rural sports, as is bear-baiting. The crime must become hateful through education and civilization. It should not be forgotten that one of the first things serial killers do is start with animals, pulling wings off insects and then graduating to people via stray cats.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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