Animal abuse, in the name of protest

Published September 19, 2014
Wild boar was attacked by protesters in Islamabad. – Photo courtesy: The Nation
Wild boar was attacked by protesters in Islamabad. – Photo courtesy: The Nation

Donkeys, dogs, tigers, lions - and now wild boars - are the unfortunate targets of often extreme abuse in Pakistan's rallies and protests.

The Nation reported recently that a wild boar was beaten to death by protesters in Islamabad. The protesters also scrawled “Go Nawaz Go” on the boar and tied its limbs with cables before thrashing it to death with sticks.

Sadly, this is not the first time an animal has been tortured or killed during a protest, and the practice of bringing helpless creatures out to large public gatherings - a form of torture for many wild animals in itself - continues with next to no criticism.


Before the May 2013 general elections, a white tiger being used by the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) during one of its rallies died, reportedly due to soaring temperatures which the animal wasn't used to living in.


'Gadha', the urdu word for donkey, is considered a form of abuse, which is the reason why many protests feature donkeys as a reference to rival political figures or other targets. The creatures are often beaten, spray painted and led through crowds for long hours.

 Pakistani cricket fans pose with a donkey as they shout slogans against national cricket team players involved in a match fixing. – Photo AFP
Pakistani cricket fans pose with a donkey as they shout slogans against national cricket team players involved in a match fixing. – Photo AFP

 Protesters have donkeys pull a vehicle during a rally against hikes oil prices. – Photo AP
Protesters have donkeys pull a vehicle during a rally against hikes oil prices. – Photo AP


The PML-N is notorious for bringing tigers and lions - the party's election symbol - out to its rallies.

 Supporters of Nawaz Sharif hold a rally with a lion. – Photo AP
Supporters of Nawaz Sharif hold a rally with a lion. – Photo AP


Pakistanis still protest against the US and Israel by either burning flags or tying them to donkeys, who are then beaten.

 Protesters tie US and Israeli flags on donkeys during a protest in Faisalabad. – Photo Online
Protesters tie US and Israeli flags on donkeys during a protest in Faisalabad. – Photo Online

 Lawyer places a photograph of Obama on a donkey against a possible US attack on Syria. – Photo AFP
Lawyer places a photograph of Obama on a donkey against a possible US attack on Syria. – Photo AFP

 Protesters tie a US flag over a donkey
Protesters tie a US flag over a donkey's back before a demonstration against Israel in Karachi – Photo AFP

 Protesting against Israel and the US  – Photo AFP
Protesting against Israel and the US – Photo AFP

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