I’ve been kind of behind in my Kuwait news as of late, and today I checked in on my Kuwait Google news feed and found this headline:
Issue of animal cruelty ‘belittled’ – Slow death by poison for strays of Kuwait.
I was somewhat taken aback by it because, for one thing, I am a pet-owner (of a wonderfully old and cranky cat) and I’ve always generally had a soft spot for animals, so I read on. And what I found was perhaps one of the least humane and most criminal stories that I have ever come across. As horrifyingly bad as the headline may sound, the rest of the article showed an even worse and a much more grim reality.
You see, for those who haven’t visited Kuwait (or who have but haven’t really seen much), Kuwait is suffering from an increasingly desperate and serious problem of animal population control. For the most part, there are hundreds of stray dogs to be found all over Kuwait, however in more profusion in the farther out, more provincial areas as opposed to the more metropolitan settings. But still, there is a rapidly growing population of stray dogs in Kuwait, that is for sure.
Now, as with all population control problems, this is an issue that does indeed need to be dealt with and remain under control. Several methods are available to help deal with this situation:
- Dogs can be sterilized (or neutered) and vaccinated from any diseases before being re-released out onto the open
- If the dogs are found to be friendly and amicable to human interaction they may be put up for adoption
- And, only as a final and inescapable resort, the dogs may be humanely euthanized in a controlled and gentle manner
Now which of these options do you think the official and legit Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources in Kuwait (the governmental authority held responsible for most animal-related issues) decided to opt for?
WHY NONE OF THEM OF COURSE.
Yes, the official, governmental, probably the most highly-funded authority on this matter decided to go completely rogue in their approach to animal population control and completely bypassed these legitimate, effective, and most importantly, humane methods and instead thought, “WHY DON’T WE JUST POISON THE HELL OUT OF ‘EM?”
The PAAAFR has been killing hundreds of stray dogs (as well as some actual pets) with absolute heartlessness and criminal impunity by scattering pellets of dog food which are laced with deadly cyanide poison which, if ingested, will lead to a slow and extremely painful death for the poor animal. The brutality of this act, the hazard that it causes for actual dog-owners, as well as the proven ineffectiveness of it makes my skin crawl with disgust and horror at the fact that this horrible practice has been going on for so long undeterred and without any real sense of justice being carried against these full-on criminals and violators of basic laws of humanity.
The approach that is taken towards these living creatures, who are in many cases harmless and may merely pose a nuisance as opposed to an actual danger, is an approach of complete indifference and remorselessness. To these government officials these dogs are “just dogs.” Unfortunately, to many Arabs, most animals are “just animals” which is why there is such a horrifyingly high animal cruelty rate in the Arab World.
Thankfully, there are organizations in Kuwait such as K’s-Path who are making a conscious effort to reduce and eliminate the number of these brutalities and are implementing humane, safe, and effective methods of lowering the stray dog population in Kuwait. Their efforts have been proven extremely effective in the Ahmadi area and, surprise surprise, they did not have to resort to any such gruesome methods of murder as the PAAAFR have. [Video of their great work in Ahmadi]
In looking over my list of Kuwaiti blogs, I wish there was a larger response to this ongoing tragedy. Mark at 2:48AM has posted the most heartbreaking videos and pictures of the graphic suffering of these poisoned dogs, as well as pictures of the dogs before they were poisoned. Looking at images of these poor, helpless creatures being treated with such inhumanity made me clench my jaw so hard I SWEAR I MADE MY FACE A LITTLE NUMB.
Desert Girl has also covered this travesty, and has given helpful contact info and tips on who to contact (both locally and internationally) to help stop this NOW. She has already contacted PETA and received a reply. Absolutely NO ONE should be standing for this injustice, and, as for myself, I will do all I can (write up online petitions, contact authorities, inform local newspapers) to make sure that these criminals are being held accountable for their actions and that their crime is brought to a complete halt as soon as possible.
I hope TO GOD to see more and more people (blogs and all) get on board against this officially sanctioned form of animal cruelty and speak for the hundreds of these helpless, suffering creatures who are incapable of speaking for themselves.
All my love!
[edit: here is an online petition in Arabic for whoever is interested: http://www.change.org/petitions/-343. It's English counterpart has already reached the 500 signatures limit which is FANTASTIC news. But you can sign up for this one too, even if you don't speak Arabic]