Why pets in New Zealand are lucky

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Ioften think how lucky pets in New Zealand are, usu­ally af­ter I have read or watched the tele­vi­sion news.

For the most part, our pets get enough to eat, good shel­ter, of­ten in­side their owner’s home, and are cared for. They can live out their lives happy, healthy and not in fear of some­thing ter­ri­ble hap­pen­ing to them.

By con­trast, one in five peo­ple in the world live in ab­so­lute poverty, mean­ing they do not have enough food or clean wa­ter, and are in con­stant risk of ill­ness and death.

Of those, most are chil­dren – nearly half the chil­dren in the world.

Many of the world’s prob­lems are caused by pol­i­tics, re­li­gious con­flict, war and other man­made sit­u­a­tions.

It beg­gars be­lief that we can have a world with so much in­equal­ity while pets in New Zealand live bet­ter than half the world’s hu­mans.

That says many good things about New Zealand.

By hav­ing a demo­cratic, sec­u­lar, tol­er­ant so­ci­ety with min­i­mal cor­rup­tion, a good jus­tice sys­tem and a mod­ern in­formed pop­u­la­tion, we are at a stage in our de­vel­op­ment where we can not only look af­ter our chil­dren, dis­abled, aged and in­firm, but also our pets.

Ma­hatma Gandhi said: ‘‘The great­ness of a na­tion and its moral progress can be judged by the way its an­i­mals are treated.’’ Don’t get me wrong: New Zealand isn’t per­fect and there are many prob­lems here, but we should be grate­ful we were lucky enough to be born here and not some­where where cheat­ing death and suf­fer­ing is a daily or­deal.

Most New Zealan­ders won Lotto the day they were born here.

They got to the age of five with­out suf­fer­ing life-end­ing mal­nu­tri­tion, dysen­tery or malaria. They got to 15 with­out be­ing maimed by a land­mine, and to 25 with­out dy­ing from child­birth or from a bul­let from some­one in­doc­tri­nated into a dif­fer­ent be­lief sys­tem.

I look at my dog and cat laz­ing hap­pily in the sun or the kids play­ing in our street or the peo­ple shop­ping at the su­per­mar­ket and know it is just down to luck, and I am grate­ful for that.

Dr Ian Schraa is an ex­pe­ri­enced ve­teri­nar­ian and the owner of Rap­paw Ve­teri­nary Care.

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