First cattle, now dogs: Nigeria’s unending drama of fundamental animal rights | The #YNaijaCover

It’s not every time one gets to see the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation come out to tongue-lash people who would see to the restriction of cattle movement across the country. Such a vehement reaction speaks to the esteem with which cattle are held, especially in the North; to the extent that the impression one gets is that human lives could be less important.

Open grazing, no open grazing‘ continues to cause controversies from different geo-political zones in the country and the drama hadn’t looked like coming to an end before dogs were thrown into the mix.

One might wonder, dogs, again? Well, days ago, over 9,000 people signed an online petition that the consumption of dog meat be banned in Nigeria. A neutral person might wonder whether a significant portion of a 200-million population truly enjoys dog meat. With the petition now passing 10,000 signatures, what was discarded as a joke by some is starting to get serious.

The argument of the initiator of the petition, Natasha Choolun, was that “dogs and cats are companion animals and not food items.” President Buhari was then called upon to “implement existing laws against animal cruelty, facilitate vaccination for dogs and cats and ban dog and cat meat as well as its trade in the country.”

Reacting to the petition which has now gone viral on social media, some users opined that ethnic groups that eat dogs should be named, and not generalise for the whole country.

They should say Calabar people. Which one is Nigeria? I don’t eat dog please,” @tkinzystar stated on Twitter.

With the cattle war on one side, and now dogs and cats on the other, it may not be surprising if dogs, cats and their sympathisers take to the streets or social media to clamour #EndAnimalCruelty. This is Nigeria after all. Humans and animals fighting side by side for the right to live and let live.

Although it remains to be seen if the government will give an official reaction, it doesn’t look like the drama is one that will end soon.

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