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Friday April 27, 2012

Animals not meant to be caged

I READ with much interest “Public can view Animal Welfare Bill soon” (The Star, April 23). I teach in a secondary school in the Sentul area. There are a few stray cats in my school that I feed daily. I incur more expenses on them than what I spend in a day on food for myself.

This relationship with the cats started quite innocently enough but the strong bond that I have developed with them is simply astounding.

I had turned my nose up at stray animals in the past but now I see that they too have distinct personalities. In the beginning, my relationship with them was all about food.

Nowadays, they demand to be caressed and loved before they touch the fried fish that I bring them.

The joy that they display when they see my car is simply out of this world. I realise that their love is unconditional, their innocence awe inspiring and spiritual. I find myself sitting on the ground to hug them better.

A week ago, one of my furry friends was taken away by DBKL to an animal shelter in the Setapak area. I was shattered when I heard of my friend’s plight. I prayed hard and decided to look for a home for my “son” Tem.

A good Samaritan, Ansar, a successful hotelier, came to our rescue. We took Tem out of the shelter. The four days in the shelter had taken its toll on him. I could barely recognise the majestic animal he once was.

Animals like cats and dogs are not meant to be caged. They deserve a rightful place on Planet Earth. They are also God’s creations. Who are we to decide that they do not belong among us?

We Malaysians need to change our mindset. Legislation alone will not solve the sorry state of animals in our country. Children should be taught in school on the rights of animals.

We need to improve our animal shelters. Animal minders must be trained to be kind and compassionate to the animals in their charge.

I remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.”

I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.

Kuala Lumpur.


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