My mom has been working on a Ramadan blog, sharing inspiring Muslim stories. When I was thinking about who I could write about, I thought about what I am passionate about and what I am really inspired by. As someone who loves animals, I really admire people who advocate for animals’ rights and fight against cruel treatment of animals. I have seen videos on factory farming and the way animals are treated in the “organic” and “natural” food industry, and it is completely barbaric. Last week, was the Yulin Dog Festival in China, where tens of thousands of dogs are stolen from their homes, brutally beaten and tortured, stuffed into cages, 10-15 to a cage, skinned alive, thrown into nearly boiling water to clean; and whichever dogs are not dead yet are thrown into a pile with all the rest to die and get sold for meat. The fact that this continues to happen every year is horrific.
One thing that inspired me were stories about a Chinese lady named Yang Xiaoyun who has been trying to raise money so she could buy as many dogs as possible and keep them in her sanctuary and give them a safe home. She sold her house and everything she owns and lives in the sanctuary with 1,000 plus dogs. She gave up her whole life to save these dogs who were bound to have no life. A story like this really inspires me. I wanted to see if Muslims are also working towards saving animals.
I found an Egyptian woman, Amina Abaza, who leads an organization called S.P.A.R.E. – Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt. I interviewed her by email. She tries to save all animals from cruelty; animals that can’t say when they are scared, when it hurts, when they need help. She fights for animals that are tortured, abused, and treated like they don’t matter. For example, she has a shelter where she takes cats and dogs from poor areas in Egypt that don’t have a home and could end up being abused; she keeps them in her shelter so they can get adopted. Camels and bulls get killed on the street for show; she protests against this. She also tried to protest the corrupt food industry in Egypt (the US food industry is also corrupt) by filming inside the slaughter house. What she filmed was so outrageous, the media didn’t even believe her and said it was fake. “What we have seen in slaughter houses has nothing to do with Islam or humanity,” she said in her email. Ms. Abaza and her organization tried a different approach; to get legislation to protect animals in the Constitution. And it worked. Now there is an animal welfare clause in the new Egyptian constitution, which bans animal cruelty on the street and sets standards for slaughter houses. She is someone who inspires me, along with Yang Xiaoyun, and anyone else who believes in the rights of animals and in abolishing animal cruelty so much that they will devote their entire lives to saving the lives of thousands of animals.
To learn more about SPARE and to donate, please go to http://www.sparelives.org. Or you can donate to your local SPCA.