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Steps towards Animal Friendly Society Program in Pakistan

Background: Pakistan has 140 million human population ( census 1998 report) celebrated its 60 th independence anniversary this year in August. Social issues, lack of democratic values and Islamic extremism has promoted violence, and deprivation of the rights of vulnerable groups of the society including children, workers, religious minorities and women. These groups of the society are still going through a serious of repression in the forms of taboos, stereotypes, so-called religious or social norms/traditions, discriminatory laws, and lack of equity and equal opportunities for development.

Recent changes around the globe have brought some changes and good news for vulnerable groups in Pakistan. Some of the human rights violation cases have got the attraction of the world community whose pressure forced Pakistani governments to bring change in their laws and mainstreamed these groups. Civil society, media and international community's activism in HR issues have also opened new horizons to work on the issues those have not been considered issues such as Reproductive Health and contraceptives and violation of animal's rights.

Animals state of Situation in Pakistan.


Animals are as common and important in human life in Pakistan as in any other part of the world is. The animals in Pakistan are breed for dairy and nutrition, working ( commercial purposes) pets for contests like fighting or racing etc. Dairy related animals are given much attention rather than other animals. The race of getting more production & profit from the animals, owners exploit the rights of animals by using the illegal methods and most common violence and torture. Each animal keeper has a wooden rod or leather belt to tame the animals.

The working animals conditions is worst. They are given less fodder, less medical care, improper shelter/sheds, violence/torture with heavy wooden rods, long or no time table for their working hours, carrying heavy loads, no time of recreation etc. The working animals are, camels, asses, donkeys, horses, bullocks etc. Steel feet covers are also nailed.

Pets are also kept but like dogs as house guards or fighting or racing. They are also violently tamed. But they are given proper care and food etc. The owner gambles for their animals on race or fighting contests that made these animals more miserable as to get desired results tamer or owner beaten the animals in some cases animals lost their lives or become handicapped and if an animal become disabled he/she killed. Pakistan Livestock Census 2006 revealed that during the reference period there were 29.56 million cattle, 27.33 million buffaloes, 26.49 million sheep and 53.79 million goats in Pakistan. Besides that there were 0.92 million camels, 0.34 million horses, 0.16 million mules and 4.27 million asses.


Government and animals.


Government is more concerned about dairy production, poultry and beef, meat giving animals. It provides consultancy, medications and some incentives on animal breeding industries. A poor breeder with one to three animals hardly get the benefit of the services as it costs money and 76 percent population lives in villages and animal doctors rarely visit plus people cannot bring their animals in the city as it costs money to bring them in city. Each district has animal hospital but it does not function properly so people who can afford they hire the services of private doctors.

Working and pet animals are rarely brought to these hospitals. The government has no policy for pet or working animal care. No system is available in the country to stop taking too much work by the animals or any other legislation against the people involved. There is a law in Pakistan for trucks and other load carrying transport means to carry fixed amount of load. If anybody is found guilty, the transport is taken in government's custody and the owner is booked in charges. The reason overloading caused accidents and roads get rough. While on the other side, overloading on animals is not asked as there is no legislation or tradition.

Only law prevailing in Pakistan for animal rights is " Animal Cruelty Protection Law 1890" ( It says, a skilled inspector shall examined horses and any owner found guilty shall be fined). It talks about horses only as well as these inspectors are never seen active. No official data is available about the people who have been fined under this law. After 117 years no law has been made for animals protection and rights. With every passing day violence on animals is increasing. They are becoming miserable.

Mary Jean Foundation Trust Pakistan (MJFTP) and Response Program.

MJFTP is located in District Toba Tek Singh central Pakistan. It is registered with the government of Pakistan under charities and non profit organizations law under " Ravi Foundation Trust Pakistan" ( Its legal name but known MJFTP as Mary Jean an American lady from Hawaii state envisioned the young Pakistanis to work for vulnerable groups of the society. She died last year in Hawaii and for her great services the name has unanimously dedicated for her name)

MJFTP envisions equal opportunity for the vulnerable groups of the society for development"

MJFTP is working on peace building programs with youth and community especially weaker groups of the society to build the capacity of these groups through concepts, values, strategies and skills transformation. MJFTP defines the vulnerable groups as children, workers, religious minorities and women.

The years of work experience on conflict resolution, peace education and non violence communication has lead the MJFTP to work on violence against animals. The following would be the objectives.

Educating people of all back grounds to ensure animals rights

Building up capacities of animals breeders, working animals owners

Health care program for animals

Educating opinion makers to teach their target people on animals

Creating opportunity to improve animals plight

Advocacy to make legislation

Formation of Animal friendly groups

Activities:

Seminars, workshops, training programs, awareness campaigns, rallies, walks etc

Essay writing, speech competitions, create art on animal, exhibition, children animal courts

Exposure visits, introducing animal friendly methods etc, corner meetings and street/interactive theaters ( It's a mode of mass education through presenting the problem situation by the actors & actresses in the drama. The solution comes from the audiences. A time comes when all actors are audience and audiences become actors.

Newsletter on animal rights education, their rights violation and positive news shall be published. Posters and stickers, leaflets shall be produced. Recording Programs for local radio and TV channels.

Target areas.

District Toba Tek Singh central Pakistan. It is 3252 Square Kilometer and it has 3,27,955 Cattle. 853 Camel and 552 assesses working animals. ( The Government of the Punjab Livestock Department Census 2006) Working animals shall be targeted to promote their life, stop violence and improved health of the animals and fixed working hours.

Outcome:

People shall be aware of animal rights

Capacity of the working animal owners shall be built

Instead of violence based methods non-violent communication shall be known and practiced.

Establishment of animal friendly Society

With much love and peace,
Ashfaq Fateh

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