Ostrich was declared “an animal” on Wednesday when Punjab Assembly passed a bill overruling the objections raised by the Punjab governor who had refused to sign it, saying, it was a bird covered under the definition of exotic species not native to Pakistan.
“‘Animal’ means a bull, bullock, buffalo, buffalo-bull, camel, cow, goat, ostrich, sheep or any other animal of any age domesticated in captivity”, says Section 2 (a) of Punjab Animals Slaughter Control (Amendment) Bill 2012 passed by the Assembly for the second time, ignoring reservations expressed by the Opposition and the governor. An editorial in the Dawn Friday asked: “When is an ostrich not a bird?”
“Apparently, when you add Pakistani legislators into the mix. On Wednesday, in its (in)finite wisdom, the Punjab Assembly once again declared by a majority vote that an ostrich was not a bird but an animal, at least for the purposes of officialdom.”
It came up because of the re-tabling of the Punjab Animal Slaughter Control (Amendment) Bill 2012. The daily said that the Punjab government’s aim seems to be to facilitate the import, farming and slaughter of ostriches for their meat.
“As a non-native exotic bird, ostriches were treated under the law — until the latest amendment was passed — in a way that limited their use for commercial purposes. Of course, rather than update the laws that would allow ostrich farming to be regulated and ostrich meat to be consumed, the Punjab Assembly saw fit to declare ostriches as animals and skip the more cumbersome approach,” it said.