It’s quite the norm in Pakistan to come across monkey-trainers putting on a show or hearing about a rooster fight taking place in a certain village, or even going to the beach and witnessing people paying to watch a snake and a mongoose fight it out – all in the name of harmless fun.
It is quite disturbing, however, to see the media take this form of entertainment, if you can call it that, to the next level.
Channel surfing one morning, I chanced upon a TV show where a trainer tried to coax his goat to stand on a small wooden stool. The helpless animal struggled to fit all four of its hooves on the surface, precariously balancing itself, trying desperately not to fall off. The show also happened to have a monkey there with its trainer, and while the goat continued on with its balancing act, the host asked the trainer if the monkey could be made to sit on top of the goat while the latter stood on the stool.
One wonders how the host would like to swap places with the goat. For a show that boasts of bringing the educated to the forefront, helping people and spreading awareness, it is pretty much reducing these animals to mere entertainment objects, all for the sake of a cheap shot at boosting its ratings.
In another instance, a game show required contestants to run after ostriches, shoving them into compartments.
Thinking about what those poor birds went through as they were manhandled for the sheer purpose of entertainment makes me shudder.
Considering that we’re barely getting any human rights in this country, some might find the concept of animal rights relatively trivial. However, despite what we might choose to believe, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we as human beings have a responsibility towards all other species. But somehow we seem to be failing miserably at that task (Sumaiya Lakhani).