By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
In a modern day world, we’re used to being able to buy whatever comes to our minds very easily. Especially in developed countries like Qatar, whereby our small country (in terms of size) has the ability and international leverage to be able to bring parts of Europe, Asia, the Americas and more — all to our peninsula nation.
But should any country like Qatar be able to sell puppies, kittens, birds, hamsters, rabbits, and other animals as if they were fashion accessories? Definitely not! These animals share the Earth with us having being given the gift of life; and while they can receive excellent care and live great lives as pets, their journey into our homes is flawed, riddled with torture (mostly unintentional) and cruelty. That’s because most animals sold in pet stores come from mass-breeding facilities such a puppy mills, where they are denied socialisation, exercise, and care. Animals such as puppies are typically taken from their mothers at an early age, packed into crates, and trucked or flown hundreds of miles to brokers and then to pet markets — nearly always without adequate food, water, or ventilation. Some puppies don’t survive the gruelling journey, others have the key growing period of their life ruined, and suffer the long-term effects later if they do make it to live on.
My message is clear. Markets and Souqs shouldn’t be part of this inhumane animal cruelty that’s facing backlash around the world. There are proven, ethical ways to introduce animals into the world that are destined to be pets, and squashing newborn puppies into a crate for passing tourists to see isn’t the way to do it.
In fact, high profile markets, full of tourists such as Qatar’s own ‘Souq Waqif’ risks having its reputation tarnished by such a pet shop market. This is because western tourists, who are visiting from nations with mostly strict laws when it comes to the breeding and selling of animals, are walking directly past a crate of Husky dog puppies, many of which look in a desperate state.
This isn’t well received by those visiting, especially given Qatar is known internationally as a fair, safe country focused on quality of life.
Conditions at many pet stores around the world are inadequate at best. At worst, they are classed as abusive. What’s more, being deprived of regular, loving human contact means that puppies and kittens bought at these kind of pet markets are very difficult to train given their poor upbringing.
Coming together and recognising that these beautiful creatures deserve an ethical start to their lives will enrich our country with the ethics and morals we are proud of in so many areas of Qatari life. We need to continue to set examples to the rest of the world, and to those visiting our country — especially in the build up to Qatar 2022.
* The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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