Why pets in New Zealand are lucky
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.