Live & Let Live

With Mr Mahmood Faraj, Chairman, BSPCA.

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BSPCA – Bahrain Society to Prevent Cruelty against animals, an NGO set in the year 1979 by the visionary Mr Khalil Rajab, is currently an asylum for animals that had gone through the tortures inflicted by none other than our fellow human beings. When we met the current Chairman of the society Mr Mahmood Faraj at the office compound by the truck road in Askar, he was back after an adventurous night trying to rescue a kitten that had accidently fallen into a deep hole in Muharraq.

BTW: How did you come to know about the accident?

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Mahmood: The Muharraq police gave me a call late night informing the situation. We had to take the help of the civil defence to do the rescue operation. Insha allah, we were able to complete the operation successfully and return the kitten to its worried mother.

It’s a 24 hours life for the animal rescuing team at BSPCA. The in house team along with the support of the very efficient Civil Defence force of Bahrain has been doing the noble deed since years. BSPCA even save pets from their heartless owners and animals that accidently gets trapped at the most unlikely places. Thanks to their selfless act, every year close to 1000 stray dogs, cats, donkeys, hens and many more species find a place where they receive love and proper care. The well experienced vet team at BSPCA runs a brilliant clinic that has all the facilities including a lab and an operation theatre.

BTW: Can we know about the rescue operation that has given you nightmare?

Mahmood: Hmm… That would be the one we did to rescue a 6 months old lion cub from a circus company. The cub was being kept at life threatening conditions and devoid of proper food. It badly needed medical attention. We went on a battle with the company for almost 3 months and by the time we got the experienced vet from UK, the cub had passed away. We could do nothing. Almost similar had happened when another circus company left hungry adult cats at the middle of the city in highly unsafe cages.

All Thanks to the recent PAN – GCC bill approved by the Bahrain cabinet there is a new hope for the safeguarding of animal welfare. BSPCA is even looking forward for support and approval from the Government by which the public and the upcoming generation can be educated about the requirement of being human to another species. Even though the society has its own fund raisers, it still is in struggle to bring in more funds to meet the expenses incurred in taking care of the innumerable inmates that gets added every year.

BTW: What would be the major source of funds for BSPCA? How can one support you?

Mahmood: We are lucky that we have many selfless volunteers who work with us to achieve the goal of our group. And we do receive donations from many companies at the private sector. Our major source of income is from the thrift shop at Busheri Gardens in Budaiyya. Our Government has been always been kind and we wish to continue getting their support in the coming days as well. If you take a look at our kennels and other animal cages, they are all sponsored by different people or organizations including students from schools. Supporting us doesn’t always mean you give money. One can volunteer with us, give things for charity at our thrift shop and you can even adopt an animal from us.

Adopting an animal from BSPCA is easy if one can be responsible towards the pet you choose. You need to pay 50BHD and fill in a form to get your heartthrob from the shelter. The group always does a check before and after the animals join with the adopted families assuring it is properly cared for. And the best part comes when selfies fly in from different parts of the world showing the happy faces that were once close to being put to an end.

A visit around the BSPCA grounds with Mahmood gave strong evidence of the bond the animals had towards their rescuer. The little naughty lamb Yasmin to the dogs, cats, rabbits, donkeys to the pigeons and parakeets, all welcomed Mahmood with rejoicing sounds and their own happy little trots. Some of them even modeled pretty well for the Bahrain This Week camera.

And as Mahmood says, every religion across the globe teaches about peaceful co existence. Animals are one of the unique creations of Mother Nature and it doesn’t hurt to live in harmony with them.