WITH tears streaming down her cheeks, the woman protestor lamented: “Just think of all the innocent dogs ... why must they die?”
I told myself “because rabies is a serious disease”.
The woman was arguing the case against mass culling of dogs after Penang was declared a rabies-infected area recently.
She was expressive in delivering her message but I thought she was being over-dramatic.
She was among some 100 protestors who, through their placards and chants, expressed their feelings that the decision to cull was cruel and barbaric.
This was the first time the Stop the Killing, Start Vaccinating group made its appearance to crusade for urban strays.
This coalition of pet-related non-government organisations went public when members handed a memorandum to the state administration on Sept 18 in Komtar to stop the culling.The three-page memorandum called for mass vaccination as a solution.
They even managed to get the World Veterinary Society to support their cause. They had done their homework.
In the coming months, they organised vigils and press conferences, made countless attempts to hand their memorandum to the state government and fully utilised social media.
All the emotion, drama and finger-pointing made a good story, and the group became media darlings which meant that they received wide press coverage.
On Nov 17, the group announced that the state had stopped the culling of dogs on Oct 9. For them, it was ‘mission accomplished’.
Recently, a new group made headlines after claiming that the cull was still going on despite the order to stop.
Three protestors created a scene when they ‘marched’ by bowing three times after every nine steps — a symbolic Chinese gesture asking for mercy and compassion.
They were accompanied by about 50 others chanting “Stop the killing. Start spaying”.
It looks like this ‘animal rights war’ will not end anytime soon because of the many animal lovers in Penang.
But it does show how the power of voicing out can bring about changes and create awareness.
If you have a positive cause, your voice will be heard.
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