A couple of months back, a friend of mine shared a post on Facebook with images of a dog that was injured in an accident and needed to be rescued. This caught my attention. I was curious to know if reposting this incident would make any difference for the poor animal.
Among thousands of posts that were made and shared in Facebook, that one particular post urging the dog to be rescued eventually saved it’s life that day! Several other follow-up posts surfaced on my newsfeed in the next couple of hours with a huge number of responses sharing updates that the dog was rescued by someone, taken to a vet and treated.
The above experience is just an example of how animal lovers in Bangladesh are using social media activism to mobilise crowds and as an advocacy tool for animal welfare, especially street cats and dogs.
Animal lovers in the country are engaging in activities related to animal welfare and creating awareness regarding animal rights with Facebook groups such as ‘ADOPT ME! BANGLADESH! ~by MAD.ORG’, ‘Dog Lovers of Bangladesh!’ and ‘Dog Society of Bangladesh’.
The groups promote posts on adoption of animals such as dogs, cats and birds that need shelter, treatment often times after being rescued.
Posts urging adoption or foster care for dogs and cats, especially for kittens and puppies is highly promoted in the groups.
Beautiful stories emerge from these posts, as animal lovers share posts about adoption or rescue of a sick animal. This activism has seen people lending their cars to transport a sick animal to the vet, raise and collect funds to help care for the animals and also took to the streets to find lost pets.
It is noteworthy that the groups discourage any posts related to buying or selling of animals and strongly encourages rescuing animals in need.
Members of the groups have created a web community where they engage in an effort to ensure a safe and friendly environment for the animals.
The groups also promote posts and information on how to manage the task of adopting an animal, provide suggestions on their diets, give advice on how to train them to maintain their hygiene and provide necessary information regarding their vaccination. They also help to raise funds for the treatment of injured animals after they were rescued, and also list the contact information of vets and foster homes.
This is a unique instance of using social media to enhance animal welfare and thereby uphold the human values and responsibilities we are endowed with towards other animals.