Please extend kindness and love to the animals

Dear Editor,

I am a Canadian and married into a wonderful Guyanese family nearly 20 years ago.  I have fallen in love with the Guyanese culture which has had a huge impact on my personal life.  I have travelled numerous times to your beautiful country which always feels like a second home because of how welcoming and friendly so many people have been.

However, each time I visit I am saddened by the abuses I witness and severe neglect of some of the most vulnerable residents of Guyana; dogs, cats, horses, donkeys and exotic animals including monkeys and birds. I am deeply troubled that a country that has made so much progress on the world stage and is developing its tourism platform continues to abandon, abuse and neglect animals in some of the most horrific ways I have ever witnessed. Unfortunately, it is often all I see when I visit different towns and markets and unfortunately this leaves me very frustrated and angry that a country of such beauty, kindness and promise continues to be so cruel to the most vulnerable of society.  The cruelty, neglect and lack of compassion towards these innocent and vulnerable animals needs to stop.

I had the opportunity to meet with Syeada Manbodh, Georgetown’s animal advocate and owner of the Rainforest Inn.  Despite her years of advocacy, Guyana has evolved very little in animal welfare and has made little progress. Animals continue to wander the street starving, suffering and broken, monkeys and birds are stolen and sold cramped in cages in the most cruel conditions in markets and donkeys, who do so much work for the productivity of Guyana are beaten and often abandoned. This is widely ignored and unacceptable.

It is a well-known and accepted fact that animals have feelings just like us. They feel pain and sadness just like we do.  Animals also feel love and will do everything they can to protect and be more productive for you with just a little kindness and compassion. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. Offer a small act of kindness to a wandering dog or a little food and compassion to a horse and the love and friendship will be returned ten-fold. It is also well known that those who share their lives and care for an animal live longer, happier and healthier lives.

I urge all Guyanese citizens to please extend kindness and love to the animals who share your beautiful country with you.  Please extend the same kindness that has been extended to me over the years to all residents, including all animals.  Please call for help when you see abuse to animals and ask the abuser to stop. Demand that your local government make changes to laws to protect animals and prosecute those who do abuse and neglect animals. Support and join Syeada Manbodh as she tirelessly works to be a voice for animals in Guyana. She is always there to help, answer questions and needs your support!

As more tourists, politicians and investors visit your country, do you really want them leaving with the lasting memory that Guyana is home to some of the most sick, starving, abused and neglected animals they have ever witnessed?  As Mahatma Gandhi has stated ‘the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated’.

Please find it in your heart to be one of the greatest nations on earth!

Yours faithfully,

Lori-Anne Olsheskie-Leung