Animal Rights Exclusive
In keeping up with its tradition, SouthAsia magazine has once again dedicated its October 2012 issue to an Animal Rights Exclusive. October has special relevance to the subject of Animal Rights because of a number of events and anniversaries that take place this month. On October 4, people around the world celebrate the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, whose love for animals earned him the title, ‘Patron Saint of Animals.’ In the remembrance of St. Francis, every year, animals are led to churches for a special ceremony called the “Blessing of the Animals.” October also is the month in which Mahatma Gandhi was born. Gandhi’s commitment to the betterment for animals is well-recognized and needs no introduction. Other events like World Animal Day, Farm Animal Day, and World Vegetarian Day also fall during the month of October.
The current issue of the magazine bears three articles on the subject. In an article on Animal Welfare in Islam, Aiman Reyaz, a regular columnist to NewAgeIslam.com, by citing the scriptures, affirms that God’s love for animals is no less than it is for humans. A predicament that compels us to revisit our mistreatment of animals that we have been justifying under the false pretense of God’s will.
In an another article on growing animal rights awareness in Pakistan Anees Jillani, a lawyer at the Pakistan Supreme Court, makes a candid assessment of the state of Animal-Rights movements in Pakistan in comparison to its neighbors. Jillani maintains that while the situation in other countries is no better than in Pakistan, India has certainly outpaced Pakistan at least by rewriting and improv- ing the 1890 animal protection law that both countries inherited from their British rulers. Although such a step taken in Pakistan would be welcomed, Jillani asserts that raising animal awareness among the young people would be necessary in advancing the animal cause, since no animal protection law on the book will have any teeth if it does not give its people a higher moral and ethical ground to stand on. Today it is encouraging to see the emergence of grass-roots organizations like Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (Karachi), Animal Rights in Pakistan (Lahore), Animal Save Movement Pakistan (Multan) and Animal Care Association Pakistan (Islamabad) who through the power of the social media, find themselves connected with global animal-rights movements reaching out to their community, raising its animal-right awareness.
In her article, Joyce Tischler founder of Animal Legal Defense Fund makes a compelling argument for the establishment of animal law in any enlightened society.
While two of the above three writers happen to be lawyers, it is to be noted that this year, the Chief Justice of Pakistan I.H. Chaudhry was a recipient of the “Hero to Animals Award,” accorded by an India based animal advocacy group, PETA-India. The award was conferred upon the Chief Justice for banning the manja practice in the Punjab province that saved countless birds from injuries and death, to which the Chief Justice acknowledged by saying that this award to him will inspire many others to come forward. In the past, India and Pakistan have bonded by participating in cultural events and sports. Sharing their concerns for animals adds a new dimension to this binding. A recent recognition to People for Animals (India) and commendation to SouthAsia magazine (Pakistan) at the Genesis Awards also brought the two countries under one roof for their work for animals who know of no boundaries between nations.
Friends and Staff of SouthAsia Magazine (Pakistan) and Pritish Nandy, Co-founder of People forAnimals (India) under one roof with Wayne Pacelle, CEO
of HSUS -- working for a common cause.