photo: Eddy van Wessel

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Monday, September 9, 2013

My cat died


One of my Siamese cats died recently. Zina was almost eleven years old, and I got her as a kitten.Here is she is, on the right, with her younger friend Banu.
Zina's two final weeks were stressful and sad.

I know it is difficult to understand for many people in Kurdistan what that means. In my life pets are companions. They share my good and bad days, they share my highs and lows. Zina moved with me to Kurdistan, over five years ago.

In the last days of her life I felt guilty for bringing her here. She was born in a country where vets know how to treat sick animals, and the only vet I could find here did not even examine her, listen to her heart or breathing. He decided she had worms and gave her shots of antibiotics.

Sadly enough I only found a more caring and qualified colleague when it was already too late. At least he helped her to die peacefully.

Animals in my part of the world are treated completely different from Kurdistan. In Holland we even have a ‘Party for the Animals’, which cares for instance for the way chickens are housed and cows are transported, but also demands that animals are slaughtered painlessly.

Every time I drive behind a truck with sheep or cows in the back, I can almost hear the damning comments the Animal Party would have. Again, when I see the chickens at the roadside, held together by their legs or crammed in a small pen. Or when I see birds of prey being sold in a shop, and even a baby tiger.

Not only the party would be protesting, also the police would be busy. Because in my country there are laws to make sure animals do not suffer. There are regulations for the space a chicken should have, or a cow or any animal bred for our consumption.

When I visited the little zoo in Erbil where lions have hardly any space to move and the monkey is on a leash, I really wished Kurdistan had regulations too. But the few people who realise the importance of a healthy environment have far too little support.

According to Genesis, animals were created before the humans. They have to same right as we to live and survive. Perhaps the way we Westerners relate to animals is a bit over the top, with millions going on in the pet food industry. There, I could have insured myself to give Zina a burial or a cremation. Here she went in a cardboard box to the trash.

A bit more care for animals cannot be too much to ask for in Kurdistan. They are part of our world. Even if they are not your companions, we humans are expected to take care of them.


This blog was first published in Kurdish in the daily Kurdistani Nwe

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