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safe eidAn accident I witnessed a few days ago prompted me to write this piece.

Two brothers aged 15 and 18, were walking their bakras; while the older one managed to control his animal, the younger one was clearly struggling. To cut a long story short, the bakra decided on a dash to freedom. The little boy fell flat on his face and then was dragged on the road for a considerable distance before he let go of the leash! The poor boy was in a sorry state, as you can well imagine.

Such Bakra Eid related injuries in Pakistan are common. Ask doctors who have been on ER duty during the run up to Eid, and they will tell you stories of bruised bodies after accidental collisions with livestock that ran amok, as well as incision wounds among enthusiastic amateurs attempting to perform the sacrifice on their own, instead of hiring professionals.

The excitement and fervour hardly allows us to consider the dangers we put ourselves and others in. The stress which we create, in buying, feeding or walking our animals, leads to heated arguments and fist fights. How far the drama plays out depends on our almost non-existent tolerance levels.

The refusal to safely dispose of animal excreta leads to a stench filled atmosphere, not to mention the various communicable diseases it causes. And what to say of the cruelty we subject the poor animals to by making them race, not to forget the serious injuries that are often the result of this   not-so-innocent sport.

We as a nation require a dose of civic and common sense to keep our neighbourhoods clean and ourselves safe from injuries and disease that can be easily prevented, not forgetting that it is just as important to be humane and gentle to animals as it is to people.

– Dr Summaiya Syed-Tariq
The writer is a senior forensic practitioner working at the Police Surgeon’s Office, Karachi.

First published in the Health Advertiser of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 28, 2014.