Culture is not an excuse for cruelty!

HERE WE GO again, the most convenient excuse for humans to justify animal cruelty or any form of cruelty is “culture” as if the mere mention of that word gives them the justification or blanket authority to commit their atrocious acts.

With humane consideration to the “cerebrally challenged”, before they get lost in translation let’s park these definitions from that free online encyclopedia a.k.a. the internet:

Cruelty – callous indifference to or pleasure in causing pain and suffering, behavior that causes pain or suffering to a person or animal

Culture – the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts

Just by the definition alone one cannot see the remotest link between cruelty and culture. The closest I can see is perhaps in religion and social habits yet some people have the temerity to use culture as a means to justify cruelty.

Excerpts from the Jan. 18, 2020 issue of Panay News:


‘Pasungay’ values animals – San Joaquin mayor

San Joaquin, Iloilo’s annual pasungay (bullfight) is not animal cruelty, according to Mayor Ninfa Garin. But mindful of possible adverse legal repercussions if the activity is continued, she announced there won’t be one for the second straight year.

In pasungay, carabaos, cows or horses owned by local farmers are pitted against one another other for entertainment.

Animal welfare group Animal Kingdom Foundation condemned the practice as animal cruelty and a violation of Republic Act 8485 or The Animal Welfare Act of 1998.

This is not a form of animal cruelty, insisted Garin, but a celebration and acknowledgement of the importance of farm animals in the daily life of the people of San Joaquin as an agricultural community.

“The age-old pasungay is part of San Joaquin’s rich culture and tradition inherited from our forefathers. It is proper that we preserve and promote it, mindful that culture is a human right that must be practiced freely and with responsibility,” stressed Garin.

If we are to use “culture” as the convenient excuse take note that human slavery was once part of the culture of the United States and Great Britain, female circumcision or to be precise the mutilation of the woman’s clitoris is still considered part of the culture in some African countries and as recently as the 1960’s a homosexual is considered illegal and are castrated chemically in Great Britain.

If those barbaric “cultural” practices are not cruel then what is cruel perhaps skinning a dog alive using a blowtorch and then slaughtering them to be eaten as they also say is part of their culture in Baguio.

The Pasungay in San Joaquin is a violation of the Animal Welfare Law or Republic Act No. 8485 as Amended by RA 10631 and in particular, Provincial Ordinance No. 2007-068, “An Ordinance  Protecting and Promoting Animal Welfare Pursuant to and in Line with the Provisions of Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998”.

Section 7.  Promotion of Animal Welfare and Respect to the rights of animals – It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog, horse or carabulls fights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured, or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.

It is never right for humans to subject or exploit animals for entertainments i.e. circuses, zoos and in this case Pasungay (the name itself already connotes violence) as these animals were never given a choice. Yes, in nature animals do fight for self-defense, territory, food and sex but not as entertainment for humans.

Humans fight or compete with each other in sports to entertain themselves and for profit i.e. Manny Pacquiao, but in doing so they have a choice that is not the case with animals.

Any given Sunday, in specially built arenas in the Philippines i.e. Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City or Roligon in Pasay, hundreds of chickens or cocks hack themselves to death while hordes of screaming men wager millions of pesos watching their favorite cock hack other cocks to death.

That, perhaps, is the ultimate in animal cruelty yet it is legal despite the fact that animal welfare groups and advocates have been fighting in Congress to have this cruel bloodsports banned to no avail because of one “small detail” 99.9 percent of the male members of congress sees the fighting cocks an extension of their own “cocks”.

And that is the hypocrisy and stupidity of the Filipino male, particularly the male politicians.

At the end of the day, it is never correct politically or otherwise for humans to exploit in any form another sentient being, as Mahatma Gandhi once said …“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ([email protected]/PN)


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