Articles and Analysies
Animalís rights are also rights/Isaiah Abraham
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Jul 28, 2007 - 9:35:48 PM

Animalís rights are also rights


Am not any student to some activists such as Ronnie Lee, Roben Webb, Steven Best or Psychologist Richard D. Ryder of Oxford University on animal rights but have seen of late an un-Africans and un-Southern Sudanese cruel treatment of animals, especially donkey/mules and horses on the streets of our cities.


One activist known as Steven Wise once argued that animals shared genetic materials, capacities and range of behaviors like human beings.   Social scientists are drawing studies about cognitive, emotional, social, neuroscience, physiology, linguistic, etiology, evolutions and psychology of animals in general; but that is subject to lazy if not moral debate that could take space and time.


There is no intention furthermore to associate this piece of writing to PATH (Protecting Animals and Their Habitats) policies that has all along been campaigning or advocating for the humane treatment of all animals. As we may have learned PATH argues that animals suffering must not be equated with human tendency of using them as mere property or capital goods.   There is no time to talk about Alan Derslwiz and Lawrence Tribe ( Harvard Law School) efforts along with Seattle Great Ape Project Groups that try to lobby for adoption of a Declaration in the United Nations for animals.


But some countries are coming to term with day to day realities of our animals. Brazil last year used the constitution to accommodate animalís rights with little opposition from traditionalists or religious groups.   Some countries such as Switzerland and Germany also made it in their law to protect animals from ill treatment by humans; Switzerland in 1992 and Germany in 2002.   Our neighbors again such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania are making good progress on the same. Their rural areas however are still far from learning policies that entertain animalís protection; though our rural man doesnít treat animals the same way urban ones treat theirs.


Though our Government (GOSS) has little time to look into everything at once, it has a moral obligation to direct Hon. Festo Kumba, our Southern Minister of Animal Resource to put to an end the suffering of donkeys and horses on our streets, particularly in Malakal, Wau, Renk, Bentiu and Mallut. A couple of days ago he got his ride of words to directing Southern businesses and ĎCarnivoresí or meat eaters to be wary of bad meat in the market. But he didnít go far enough to check out what is going on the other side of animals that suffering at the hands of our people; a culture imported from the North. Donkeys and horses are medium means of transport there yes but their usefulness has been damaged due to the unethical use by riders. It becomes fun for small boys manning those animals as they ride on them along main markets and public places, using sharp whips as gears for their animals to move them faster. The animals there are sick and emaciated resulted from bruises on their bodies with no medication, attention or care.


It is true that in the long run, the animals in our streets shall cease from transporting stuff because we shall have cars doing that kind of job; but is it moral to arbitrarily beat or kill your animal at wish simply because it has to serve you and you alone? May be because these animals have natural communication problem to tell you Ďam tired this dayí, that you capitalize on their nature to abuse it; then believe me, the animals in question have blood and flesh like you and me.   They also get sick and therefore need medication, food and rest. That means then, letís protect our animals so to serve us better. Look at lethal horses used by Ali Mohammed Abdul Rahaman, (the Janjaweed Chief) in Darfur, they are well fed and properly attended.


Our Ministry of Animal Resources and Police have constitutional if not moral duty to lead in this process. There must be law to put to an end to the suffering of our animals in the streets of Malakal, Renk, Mallut, Bentiu and Wau. It could be a circular or Ministerial Order, not necessarily an Act of Parliament. Looking at our Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, there is no vivid clause in favor of animals. That is understandable. The process must start in those cities where animals are badly mistreated with no Governmental policies to regulate the amount of load or weight to be carried by a single horse/mule. There should have been Ďstandardí of what quantity in tones and volumes that must be carried in a cart or the number of hours each particular animal must spend in a day. The same regulation could include the fitness and health of serving horse or donkey. There is further a need to look at the use of whips as mode of propelling animals. Little things make bigger things.






Isaiah Abraham is a Southern Sudanese living in Southern Sudan; he could be reached on [email protected]









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