A nation is judged by the way it treats its animals

Dear Editor,

On August 5, my family and I were on our way home, coming from the late Tarawih prayers  around 8.25pm. When my father, Mr Roshan Khan, stomped on the brakes, nothing but fear rose.  I clenched the seat before me so that I would not fall forward; it seemed like a blur of hooves running across the road. Squinting because of the poor road lighting, I finally saw what caused my father to press the brakes – a tiny herd, not more than about twenty feet before us.

Glass from the minibus braking ahead shattered across the street; horses ran everywhere but still tried staying together – all but one. Caught under the bus was a female horse, brown, struggling to stand, her mane making whip-like motions in the air as she struggled. My father parked our bus to the left of the road and left the vehicle to see if the minibus driver was okay. Sitting in our vehicle, I cried bitterly afraid to turn around to look at the wounded horse. On the opposite side of the road, I could see her family staring at her, helpless too.

There are two agencies at fault – the government and the owner of those horses. Whatever happened to our animal catchers created by the supposedly ‘caring’ government of this country? Did they not create a system in which patrols would be sent daily, even nightly, to check for animals wandering on the road? And how irresponsible could the owner of these horses be? What, did he just forget where he left his horses?

Reminiscing on the accident I witnessed this evening, revisiting the scene of where it all happened, I cannot take my eyes off her family. Among them was a white horse, and he stood aloof from the others. There was something engaging about his stance, the way he looked in the direction of the accident. Who knows – it could have been her mating partner, the father of her foals.

It is good that the ‘carers’ (aka the government) of this country care about bridging the gap between various countries and spend valuable resources on trying to create unity amongst people by turning their slogans into actions. Yet, they do not seem to realize that any angle of creating unity starts from within, and developing oneself to reach the standards of any international country.

But, how can a country develop if its own systems cannot be run as intended? A nation is also judged by the way it treats it animals. If a system has been set in place in which animal patrols are supposed to be undertaken, let the system do its duty. If there is no licensing for animal owners, then create one.

Animals are life, too. They have feelings – and value. They contribute to our country being recognized, and our country defines us for who we are. I implore the government to keep their word and monitor the systems they create, because whether it is a being with two legs or four, a mother will forever be a mother.

Yours faithfully,
Latifan Rosheena Khan

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