Remembering Sheena

Stop Animal Abuse in Malaysia.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Letter In THE STAR Newspaper Fri, April 14, 2006

I wrote a letter to the STAR newspaper which they published in the Opinion Page today, Friday, April 14, 2006. I've cut and pasted the letter below:

WHITHER STAR TREATMENT FOR WILDLIFE?

POPULAR Bollywood actor Salman Khan was sentenced just days ago by an Indian court to five years’ jail for “poaching”. He had killed a gazelle and two black bucks, which are on the endangered species list.

Kudos to India for upholding laws which protect animals. The country is indeed getting closer to the ideals that Mahatma Ghandi himself had propagated: “The greatness of a nation is seen in the way it treats its animals.”

I disagree with those who sympathise with Salman and cry foul that this blue-eyed boy of the Indian movie industry is being made a scapegoat because Indian courts want to prove that no one is above the law.

If anything, Salman’s jail term lends credibility to all the other court verdicts in support of animal welfare and shows a deep stirring within humanity to remain true to our role as stewards of this earth.

The lessons and morals we leave our children will, in the end, be the only legacy worth leaving behind. Hence, Salman’s jailing is truly a victory for animal rights activists who have sweated blood and shed buckets of tears over senseless killings.

Worse, too often, our animal abuse reports to the authorities fall on deaf ears. It is very sad indeed that this awakening in India is still not happening in Malaysia, and the Department of Veterinary Services continues to drag its feet in responding to animal abuse.

When animal shelters continue to get three calls a day reporting animal abuse, it is unconscionable to learn that you can count with two hands, the number of abuse cases the department has filed in court against those who abuse animals.

So is it any wonder that Malaysian courts merely mete out token fines? And to add insult to injury, they even return the abused animals to their respective abusers.

In India the Rajasthan Forest and Environment Minister Laxminarain Dave was delighted with the court verdict in the Salman case, saying it strengthens the state government’s efforts to protect wildlife and check poaching.

I wish there was one politician in Malaysia, a civil servant from the department or the Department of Wildlife and National Parks who is just as enthusiastic as this Indian Minister in prosecuting those who break laws that protect animals and the environment.

This verdict on Salman is a victory for animal rights activists all over the world. Ironically, it comes also at a time when international NGOs are calling for sanctions against Malaysia for failing to adequately protect the orang utan, “Saving Sarawak’s orang utan” (The Star, April 11).

The orang utan is unique to the Malay Archipelago. What a pity!

Does it now take the foresight of outsiders to force Malaysians to value our own wildlife?

Shoba Mano
Subang Jaya.

3 Comments:

  • At 2:52 AM, Blogger Louisa Ponnampalam said…

    Wow!Glad to see that some laws are being upheld in India....no matter if the person was famous or not.

    I know of a certain someone in Malaysia who has had letters of complaint from the Wildlife Department written against this person simply because this person spoke out for a case of wildlife abuse.

    Does that put us many many steps backwards or what?Of course it doesn't deter this person to continue lobbying for animal welfare and wildlife issues....but very disappointing to think that such unprofessionalism abounds in our Wildlife Dept.

    My take on this is that only guilt and cowardice would drive a person to do such a thing!

    Don't you think so?

     
  • At 7:01 AM, Blogger Shoba said…

    Yes, Louisa. It is guilt and cowardice.

    I think there is nothing worse than being placed as guardian over helpless creatures like children and animals and then abusing that trust.

    Children and animals cannot defend themselves and people who do this are despicable.

    I myself was threatened by a Senior official from the Department of Veterinary Services.

    I lodged a police report and wrote letters of complaint to the Director of the DVS and to the Minister of Agriculture, but to date have not received any response from either party although I hand delivered these letters.

     
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