It is pitiful and shocking to learn that the Lahore Safari Zoo has opted to auction 30 of its precious lions, tigers and cheetahs to the highest bidders on grounds of inadequate space and high cost of maintenance. It is absolutely unimaginable that a country as big as Pakistan cannot provide a shelter in its zoo or a place in its forests to animals that would be a matter of pride for other countries. The act of selling them to individuals for petty cash amounts to condemning these innocent animals to a life time of solitary confinement and brutality at various unchecked private locations. I appeal for immediate withdrawal of this feudal, insensitive and unwise decision. If the Lahore Safari cannot provide suitable space to a few dozen precious animals, it must think of better alternatives. Giving them to other zoos in Pakistan is one such option. A controlled release in suitable forests is yet another possibility. Perhaps the Lahore Zoo managers never read the famous quote by the well-known English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, as stated in An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789): “The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being?”


Islamabad, February 27.