Animal abuse is a serious issue and it’s important to enforce laws and create awareness to end such cruelty.
It is heartbreaking to hear of the countless horror stories across the UAE of animals being abused and mistreated. Despite the efforts of many organizations in the country, the number of animals being harmed or abandoned is plenty, and sadly, not all of them can be saved. In Islam, it is considered a sin to inflict harm towards any living being, and the Quran and Islamic teachings make several references to the importance of animals as living creatures. Even when used for food, there is a halal (islamically allowed) way of slaughtering animals, and this is to acknowledge that a life is being taken with God’s will. Since this is such a fundamental issue, why isn’t there more of a collective effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the animals around us, stray or otherwise?
A Federal Law was put in place in 2007 to protect animals from negligence and abuse, but the enforcement of this act remains to be seen. So many people are still getting away with abandonment and abuse, allowing these innocent creatures to starve or bleed to their deaths. This is a gruesome reality that takes place and it needs to end.
Animal abuse is a result of deeper psychological issues that lead to such sadistic and inhumane behavior of commandeering power over a weaker life. There has been much research done on this, and it has been found, that individuals who engage in such animal cruelty, particularly at a young age, can go on to commit other crimes, and that it is a common trait among serial rapists and murderers. With such information at hand, why are offenders still on the loose?
The Federal Law allows for hefty fines and imprisonment against such crimes, and these need to be enforced in order to eliminate, or at least, reduce the number of such cases. The message needs to go out loud and clear to catch the attention of the local community, and the actions taken against perpetrators must be highlighted to serve as a lesson.
A quick look through the local media shows that there has been awareness of this issue and the need to further protect animals, but years have passed, and the situation remains grim. We need massive awareness campaigns across the country to the young and elderly. It is not sufficient to teach these values only at schools, but to the parents as well, who serve as role models to their children. Respect for all living beings is learnt at home, so a lot of responsibility falls on the parents’ shoulders.
As individuals, we need to also take accountability and report cases of abuse and negligence, and not turn a blind eye. For those considering getting a pet, they need to think long and hard to ensure that they are in fact ready and able to take care of an animal before allowing it into their homes. Having a pet is such a rewarding experience and can teach you and your children the value of unconditional love, but it takes time and effort, and therefore, must only be done if the individual or family is genuinely ready.
Animal rescue organizations have been making huge efforts to treat and save as many of these animals who are in danger, but their resources also remain limited. They need the support of the municipality and local authorities, so that together, they can combat these issues. Moreover, their expenses are predominantly borne through donations and fundraisers, and do not come easily. If the fines stipulated in the Federal Law were imposed, it could also be used towards these expenses.
When this issue is taken seriously by the higher authorities, it can then be cascaded down to the people. The UAE is a prosperous nation with the biggest aspirations, which make us all proud, but we may need to take a step back and establish the basic needs, such as the provision of love and dignity for all living beings, before going any further.
“And the earth, He has assigned it to all living creatures”. (Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rahman, 55:10)
- Silvia Radan (2014). “Animal cruelty needs to stop, says expert”. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/article/20140819/ARTICLE/308199912/1002
- PeTA. “Human Abuse Linked to Cruelty to Animals”. http://www.peta.org/issues/companion-animal-issues/cruel-practices/human-animal-abuse/
- Nick Webster (2015). “UAE law is clear when it comes to abuse of animals”. http://www.thenational.ae/uae/uae-law-is-clear-when-it-comes-to-abuse-of-animals
- Sohbetna. “Federal Law No.16 Concerning Animal Protection”. http://www.sohbetna.com/business/uaelaw/federallaw16concerninganimalprotection/