Kathmandu is Cruel to Animals

A starved donkey...
Very Hungry….a starved donkey in Nepalgunj.

Today I am taking a break from political blogging to highlight cruelty to animals in Nepal. By Siromani Dhungana/UWB

Whatever may be the rationale behind a cruel act, cruelty cannot be hailed. Nepal’s capital Kathmandu is cruel to animals. Stray dogs, cows, oxen and cats starve to death in this city where hundreds of thousands of humans struggle to make their ends meet. 

These unlucky animals are injured or killed in fights and there are dozens of hit and run cases by speeding vehicles leaving stray animals wounded and severely injured. The question is how long can this cruelty will continue in the capital city?

Recently, staunch animal rights activists duo Pramada Shah  and Lucia de Vries sent me an email including link to a YouTube video (below) in which Nepal Police personnel were involved in brutal killing of a dog. I was deeply shocked by seeing the video in which we can see that officers first shoot at the dog and then bludgeoned it to death with bamboo sticks- all in full view of the public. The incident, in Baluwatar, does not make us feel proud and civilized.

Brutality: On the Street

Stray animals are simply ignored in Kathmandu valley. The question is: where do they come from? According to Animal Nepal, most dogs and other stray animals are left to die on streets by their respective owners after these owners conclude that their animals’ utility is finished.

There are some 22,500 stray dogs inside the ring road and more than 35,000 animals are left on the street, according to Animal Nepal.

The plight of stray animals is devastating. Most of them have been suffering from common disease such as parasite infection and skin problems, according to Lucia de Vries. “Parvo and distemper, birthing problems, malnutrition and dehydration are some other diseases that these animals are suffering from,” she says.

Police’s Campaign to Round up Cows

Police in Kathmandu have launched a campaign to round up cows roaming in the streets, blaming the sacred animals for car accidents and traffic jams, according to an AFP report.

“The stray cows and oxen have been a big nuisance in Kathmandu streets. They not only cause accidents, but also make the streets untidy,” the AFP report quotes Pawan Giri, spokesman for the Kathmandu Metropolitan Traffic Police, as saying. “We see traffic jams because the drivers who try to avoid the cows often crash into other vehicles.”

According to the report, the captured animals would be detained until their owners paid a fine of approximately $60 for their release. Cows are a regular sight in the smog-choked capital and are often found eating from piles of garbage on the roadside.

It’s not a solution

Nepal’s government has no proper facility to keep captured animals. Animal right activities often blame the government for not maintaining a Kanji house to keep animals in humane manner.

The starvation of animals at Kanji House is a sure thing if government rounds up animals without planning, say animal right activities.  The government, which is supposed to take care of ‘captured’ animals until their owners collect them, only seems to care about earning money from fines, according to them.

Wild Cat killed in a Wild Manner

Locals backed by government authorities on April 11 beat a leopard with sticks to death in Gothatar area of Kathmandu.

Reportedly, the wild cat was hiding in a bamboo grove at the time of killing. Locals came out of their houses with iron rods and sticks and besieged the area before calling police, local media reports suggest.

Officials from the Central Zoo and District Forest Office said they ‘had to kill’ the leopard after their hours of effort to capture it with the help of tranquillizer darts went in vain, the Himalayan Times reports.

The incident garnered criticism due to inefficiency of concerned government agency to capture the wild animal alive. Many felt sad for the death of the leopard in a cruel manner.

Dont’ mistreat

In Nepal, there is no place to complain about mistreatment of pets and animals. Neither owners of animal or the government are serious enough to treat animals in humane manner.

It is need of the hour that the authorities concerned must find humane solutions to animal problems and animal welfare legislation is very necessary. Dog killing is a very common phenomenon in Nepal and municipalities across the country regularly poison dogs in large numbers.

I am not an animal rights activist, but I don’t have to be one to say that this brutality against animals must come to an end in Kathmandu.

Published by Siromani Dhungana

I am a Kathmandu-based economic journalist (currently with The Himalayan Times), researcher and lecturer of Journalism and Mass Communication at Tribhuvan University. I have also been appointed by the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Development Center to revise the journalism syllabus for grade nine and ten as well as to rewrite journalism textbooks for the secondary level.

9 thoughts on “Kathmandu is Cruel to Animals

  1. This is bullshit. Why dont you have sympathy towards hundreds of goats and hens that are killed every day? Dogs are generally a menace. Have you heard their cruel barking? Have you seen how they bite young children like me? I HATE DOGS

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