Living with Animals: To Prevent Torture and
the Impact of War
|Dr. Ali Hamadeh
A moment of silence for the 122-day battle of Nahr el-Bared began the
October 1 Women's League General Assembly in the Bathish Auditorium. Program
chairwoman, Arminée Choukassizian, introduced the subject at hand:
"The importance and role of pets inside the home." An animal
lover, she expressed her concern for rescuing and preventing the torture
of pets, even at the hands of children.
She introduced Dr. Ali Hemadé, who revealed his move from general
to veterinary medicine, earning a master's degree in veterinary science
in 2000 at the Veterinary Academy of Ukraine where he specialized in surgery
in dogs and cats. In 2002, he opened his own clinic in Hamra, Beirut,
which provides all kinds of services, from hospitalization to quarantine.
Hemadé belongs to the World Society for the Protection of Animals
and other animal rights associations. He was also one of the founding
members of BETA (Beirut on the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in 2004,
now registered in Lebanon as a charitable organization with 3,000 subscribers.
Hemadé emphasized the significance of developing loving, mutually
beneficial relationships with animals. "Training dogs through gentle
means can allow them to become good 'canine' citizens," and impact
the lives of children. Learning to live with pets can teach children humane
responsibility, subtle cues of communication, empathy, and nurturing skills
such as how to take care of another living being. Hemadés says
growing up with pets instills confidence in children by giving them a
sense of unconditional acceptance as well as resilience to change such
as coping with the trauma of losing a pet. Studies have shown that violent
acts towards animals may indicate psychopathic behavior: "many children
have tortured animals before turning on their peers."
In order to prevent widespread aggression towards animals, BETA aims at
rescuing stray and maltreated animals and combating illegal trade in wildlife
by exposing abusive pet shops and cruelty to smuggled animals. BETA has
rescued over 1,200 animals through adoption, and spayed/neutered 300 cats
and dogs to help control the stray population. During the 2006 summer
war in Lebanon BETA rescued pets abandoned in war zones or left behind
Through direct action and education in schools, much can be done for animal
welfare. Beirutis can sponsor a cat or dog for only $10 a month (email@example.com).
Individuals can also report animal abuse.