Cull or Neuter?


How disconnected members of Pakistan’s ruling elite are from the problems plaguing the man on the street can be gauged from the so-called “fashionable and politically-correct” positions they often take on assorted issues.

For example, take the menace of stray dogs, who last year bit around half-a-million people, including children, across Pakistan, according to official figures. Out of these more than 500,000 victims, at least 5,000 died due to rabies. In 2021, the number of dog-bite cases is expected to be higher as the provincial authorities miserably failed to address this easily resolvable issue.

There appears to be no urgency, no plan and no strategy on the part of the provincial governments or the centre to address this problem, which is hurting the people, especially those living in low-income localities. Pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and children are all at the mercy of packs of stray dogs as the authorities either look the other way or come up with non-implementable “trap-neuter-release” (TNR) type of fancy plans.

This elitist mindset – oblivious to the issues of the common man and the local conditions – was again reflected on September 22 at a webinar held on the occasion of World Rabies Day, where the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, declared that the culling of stray dogs should be the last resort.

Just like a member of some foreign-funded Non-Government Organisation (NGO) – focused more on imposing an imported agenda on Pakistan – Dr. Sultan advocated that vaccinating and sterilising remain the “humane and preferred approach” to tackle the problem of dog-bites. Unfortunately, this plan is a non-starter and will be unable to deliver.

468669 3137338 rabies updates edited | Zeroing IN from Narratives Magazine

dog bite edited | Zeroing IN from Narratives Magazine

A few months back, when dog-bite cases surged in Sindh, the provincial decision-makers took exactly the same line, as was advocated by the prime minister’s special assistant. At that time, various NGOs successfully mounted pressure on the authorities to halt the culling of stray dogs, despite the growing public outrage and criticism. The voice of ordinary citizens remained unheard, as the mainstream influential English-language press also joined hands with NGOs and advocacy groups against the culling of stray dogs.

It is obvious that those who take such decisions do not even have the experience of taking a walk on the stray dog-infested roads or streets of a middle- or low-income neighbourhood.

In their so-called “humane” way, when they talk about animal rights, they do it at the cost of common Pakistanis and their lives. They talk of fancy “trap-neuter-release” type of solutions in a country where even administering vaccines and polio drops to new-born babies remain a major challenge.

Due to the indifference of the ruling elite, ordinary Pakistanis have had to suffer and face problems that are easily avoidable. If only the decision-makers were responsive and responsible. Ask a grieving parent, who has lost a child because of a dog-bite or seen gashes of dog-bites on various parts of the body that may remain with them for the rest of their lives, about the fancy proposals of neutering dogs and listen carefully to what they have to say.

Even in Western countries, seen as nations of dog-lovers, one never finds stray dogs roaming on the roads or chasing citizens in the streets. Our authorities need to drop impractical, expensive and time-consuming plans of vaccinating and neutering dogs. Instead, the authorities in every city and town must immediately launch a mass culling operation of dogs to protect citizens.

Elitist agenda-driven NGOs and advocacy groups should not be allowed to stand in the way of such operations, which guarantee the safety and protection of the majority.

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