LETTER TO THE EDITOR
STOP USING ANIMALS AS TOOLS OF POLITICAL HARASSMENT
The abandonment of a sick and dehydrated live duck outside the Malaysiakini office on 25 Feb 2014 is just the latest incident in a long series of instances of animal cruelty as a form of political harassment and insult. It came after an incident where a dead chicken was left at the office of Seputeh MP Theresa Kok on 19 Feb, the protest against DAP leaders in which chickens were slaughtered and blood smeared on a banner, the killing and dressing up of a pig to insult a politician, the inflammatory “cow head protests” of 2009, and the hurling of pigs and pork into the compounds of houses of worship.
Such acts of cruelty and disrespect for animal lives demonstrate the ignorance, thoughtlessness and inhumanity of the perpetrators. The perpetrators of these acts are clearly uncivilised and incapable of sophisticated and intelligent debate. What is more unacceptable is that such acts of animal cruelty as a method of political harassment are condoned by political and religious leaders, ostensibly on grounds that these are merely animal lives and no physical harm has been caused to humans.
All religions and ethical ideologies advocate stewardship of the environment and animals. From a human-centered point of view, the unnecessary killing of animals in order to insult or taunt others is a waste of resources at a time when many people are suffering from poverty and hunger. From a compassionate and biocentric point of view, the killing of these animals is cruel and indefensible. Animals are not and should not be made parties to our political and religious conflicts. Through these pointless killings of animals, we are also indirectly desensitizing people, especially the younger generation, to animal cruelty and violence, wherein causing pain and suffering to sentient beings is normalised and no longer becomes a cause for concern or source of grief.
There are some who will argue that the animals harmed in these incidents are domestic and farm animals that would be slaughtered and consumed in any event. However, just because they are not endangered species or someone's beloved companion animal does not mean that they are incapable of pain and suffering. All over the world, the agricultural industry is under pressure to institute better farming methods that would improve the welfare of farm animals and reduce suffering. The number of vegetarians and vegans worldwide is growing. Most developed and developing nations are implementing better animal protection laws and guidelines. Malaysia too has no shortage of animal rescue groups, welfare organisations and concerned people who are offended and distressed by the rising number of political animal sacrifices.
No politician or interest group that practices or excuses cruelty to animals deserves our support. Killing and hurting animals in order to antagonise one's political opponents indicates a depraved and sadistic mind. It stands to reason that a political leader who is dismissive towards animal lives is unlikely to be sympathetic or compassionate to his fellow humans or other living beings. Malaysians from both sides of the political divide must rise up and speak out against animal cruelty. The first step to becoming a more humane, responsive and caring society starts with you and me.
WONG EE LYNN
PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR