THE EDITOR: I am writing out of immense concern in relation to animal welfare in our country at this time and the effect it has on us as a wider society and the negative effect on our image globally.
Recently, I have been overwhelmed by the injustice and cruelty that our nation’s animals, both domesticated and wild, have been experiencing at the hands of some of our citizens. I do believe that it is crucial that we find a way forward, whether it be through stricter legislation, policing or education to protect, not only endangered species, but also those in the home.
The abuse of animals and our attitude towards them as a people is extremely telling; I am of the belief that this has a core role to play in the undisputed violence being witnessed across our nation on a daily basis. Our children are growing up witnessing a lack of compassion for their pets. Is it really a mystery when they display aggression both at school and then, the wider society?
Daily, I receive calls and messages to pick up dumped and abused animals. Very often, myself and others have found ourselves in dangerous situations trying to rescue battered and uncared for pets at the hands of negligent owners.
As you may be aware, during the hunting season, we witness our wildlife being butchered senselessly and without restriction. I am aware that there are legal parameters within which hunters are permitted to hunt, however, it is necessary to question whether these are too wide and whether there is any policing of activity which falls out of the scope of the allowances provided.
Social media has been coloured red with videos and images of pregnant and young deer, agouti and the likes being piled up like garbage after being killed irresponsibly. Just last week, I was mortified by the image of the bodies of howler monkeys butchered in an attempt to capture their offspring. How much longer can we ignore that there is a need to revisit the laws regarding hunting and if enough is being done to protect our animals by the relevant authorities? The cries by so many citizens for affirmative action can no longer be ignored.
It was shocking and horrifying to read about the $800.00 fine imposed on people who hunted the national bird of our Republic, the Scarlet Ibis, recently. Surely, our country deserves better and the tone set by this judgement leaves much to be desired and is an indication of how the judicial system perceives crimes against animals.
There is very little action being taken against poachers and those who abuse animals; this is a travesty to justice and hinders our growth as a nation. The negative publicity alone is damaging to our image as a country.
There seems to be no one with political or judicial power rallying for justice for the voiceless animals of our country. I am humbly asking that those with the power and influence to make a much needed difference, to do so. This is a national issue and one that must be dealt with sooner than later.
Jowelle De Souza via e-mail