SIXTY FOUR residents of Islamabad complained to the newly set-up Pakistan Citizens’ Portal of the Prime Minister’s Office about street dogs and wild boars in their city. On their wishes, the trigger-happy bureaucrats of the portal formed mobile shooting squads armed to kill on sight these four-legged creatures.
Rising piles of garbage left to rot in our neighbourhoods and human overpopulation have led to a corresponding increase in dog population. The fast pace of development has created a sprawling city that was not only founded on the Eurasian wild boar’s forested habitat more than 50 years ago, but is encroaching even further into their home.
With their natural predators wiped out, the boars emerge from their last hilly and scrubland refuges onto highways and into neighbourhoods to forage for food.
Studies have shown a clear link between cruelty to animals and violence towards humans. Instead of peppering innocent sentient beings with bullets, causing their agonising deaths and spreading terror, those in charge of the killing squads should reach out to experts and adopt a scientific, humane and effective approach to dog and boar control.
According to the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, the real necessity is to “dramatically increase the use of dog rabies vaccines to eliminate the virus in the dog population and, therefore, to end the public health threat.” Worldwide, a goal has been set to eliminate human rabies deaths by 2030. “A well-cared for, vaccinated dog population will protect everyone in the community.”
They have developed a blueprint to serve as a guide for countries wanting to design and implement a large-scale rabies control programme. Karachi and Lahore have already launched such initiatives.
The bureaucrats of Islamabad fail to realise that their city has more than 64 residents who wish to see Pakistan join the ranks of civilised and compassionate nations and form a humane national rabies policy as well as come up with non-violent methods to deal with our porcine friends.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2018