Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

This is not about love

A tale of insufferable wealth, ego, and cruelty

Update : 06 Jan 2020, 11:30 PM

I am the Lorax I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues

-- The Lorax by Dr Seuss

My first love was a kitten when I was barely two-years-old. This tiny, incredible creature in the yard outside my house had crept into my soul and the fascination that I felt has not faded an ounce since.

As an adult, I currently possess three cats and a dog, all of whom were rescued from the streets.

Bangladesh with its teeming population of over 160 million barely has space for animals in the hearts of most people. We kick around dogs mercilessly, cull, stone, drown, and drive over them and call them impure whilst we dodge cats in fear of diseases, scratches, or moronically label them selfish.

At least this is what I have heard from the beginning of my life. I wonder whether we ever pause to reflect on our cruelty as impure or, dare I say, ungodly. The only acceptable animals to be raised as pets, I was told, are German-bred Alsatians who can guard the house. We never owned street dogs growing up but we did own a couple of cats.

Of course, everyone loved the furrier, exotic looking ones more. Someone once remarked that my local cat looked like a “sur bilai” (thieving cat) when I was a little girl; I had been mortified that someone had called the love of my life and the most beautiful creature in my eyes that.

In the last decade, boastful Facebook posts of fancy-looking breed dogs such as huskies and Persian cats have spiked and I keep wondering what is up with people showing off their “breed” pedigree animals as though they are the nouveau riche exhibiting designer handbags to prove their salt.

I am no snob and forgive me if I decline to participate in this crass society where money talks and there is a ridiculously elitist cat show featuring half-drugged, fancy bred cats drugged up in birdcages, dozing atop stinking putrid litter, barely blinking or moving.

Come on, be honest, for this is not love

Not love when you take your cat-loving seven-year-old to witness a cat show and even she even recognizes the distress the creatures feel and the sadness in their eyes if you bother locking eyes in between your 101 selfies.

Programs such as IWC (International World Cat Federation Cat Show) ought to be banned, boycotted, and banished forever. This should be the first and in fact the last cat exhibit in Bangladesh. These events only cause breeders to succeed in their trade of infinite cruelty towards animals.

I saw one man (possibly a breeder with a table full of seven or eight long-haired cats) asking a random stranger who possibly never has held a cat in his life to go to the judges’ table to parade the poor drugged up animal. As an animal lover, I feel obliged to express my strong opinion and protest that this event was a semblance of animal love gone wrong.

Even though I did see a few loving owners, it is imperative that this show, if it ever happens again, is inclusive of local breeds and at the same time discerning about who to allow as fit to participate so that it does not encourage breeding, buying torture, and exploitation of animals. 

Let us strive to be better, to be kinder and nobler than this. 

Anika Rabbani is a certified yoga instructor who teaches at Studio107 and Leela. Drop her a line at [email protected] or find her on Facebook Anika’s Yoga or YOGANIKA or Twitter @yoganika.

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