An­i­mal Rights Ex­clu­sive

Southasia - - Special feature - A Com­men­tary by Syed Rizvi Syed Rizvi is a physi­cist by pro­fes­sion, and through his group, En­gi­neers and Sci­en­tists for An­i­mal Rights, he reaches out to the sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal com­mu­ni­ties, pro­mot­ing the an­i­mal rights phi­los­o­phy. Syed lives in Sil­ico

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 NewAgeIs­, 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.

Photo credit: Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States

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.

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