Writer’s Note: The interview was conducted in Arabic and I translated it in English.
To know more about the interviewee, check out check out Mayar’s instagram page.
Animal abuse in the world is not uncommon, and many activists and lawyers are doing the best to make the world a better place by standing up against abusers from different social classes. Unfortunately, such laws that protects animal rights do not exist in some countries, and Kuwait is among them; however, an amazing activist from Kuwait is active against animal abusers, and her efforts in saving the lives of abandoned animals in Kuwait are innumerable, and I had the utmost privilege to conduct this interview with her.
Mayar Al-Azmi is a Kuwaiti Animal Rescuer & Activist whose outstanding efforts are reflected on her Instagram page, receiving donations from her followers and from other animal rights supporters from both Kuwait & GCC countries. She is also a horseback rider, and the adoptive mother of two Doberman dogs, two Pitbull dogs, and six cats.
In this lovely interview, readers will get to know what its like to be an animal rescuer and activist in Kuwait would look like.
- Introduce yourself to us
“My name is Mayar and I am 30 years old. I have been involved in animal rights and rescuing for 13 years, and I am also the founder of Naida Shelter for animals in Kuwait, specifically for abandoned animals.”
- How did you start your animal rights activism?
“It started about 12-16 years ago when I adopted my first cat, and it dawned to me how these innocent souls feel happiness and misery like us humans. I first started with feeding stray cats, then feeding stray dogs. In addition, my partner and I opened the Naida Shelter together six years ago.”
- What does you Instagram page revolve on?
“My page focuses on finding and rescuing lost/missing animals in Kuwait, my daily life with my pets, and spread the news of animal rescues around the country.”
“Kuwait in the present day has an official animal rights organization that is managed by Mr. Ali Al-Naser and animal rights advocacy is on the rise as well, both from the government and the public. In addition, the number of animal rescuers are also increasing in Kuwait, which is a good sign.”
- Have you faced any problems with people criticizing your Instagram page?
“Yes, I have faced many people who are against animal rights, mostly bullying from them. I have also faced issues with some people in Kuwait who instigate and support dog fighting, and received threats from them despite my efforts in stopping them. Kuwait is doing is best to protect its people from such threats. Most of these abusers are not in their right mind, showing a ‘all-bark-and-no-bite’ attitude”.
- Have you dealt and prosecuted animal abusers? If so, tell us about it
“Of course! I have dealt with many abusers, and my stories with them are countless. One story in particular happened to me was seeing a man abandoning their starving dog in the desert, and the poor dog was skin and bones. After I rescued her (the dog) and healed her back to her health, the owner contacted me requesting her back, and he threatened to involve the police if I did not comply.
Fortunately, he couldn’t even dare involve the police because I had all of the evidence against him after he sent me confirming photos of him actually owning the dog and taking pictures of her in the desert before abandoning her. The dog was sent to the U.S. after her hospitalization and is living happily with a loving family. I still think about her from time to time about she had to endure so much abuse from a monster who was her previous owner..”
- What are your favorite animals?
“I like all animals, but I prefer cats and dogs as pets.”
- What would you like to tell the world about animal abuse cases?
“I have a strong alliance with an animal rescue organization in America called NewYork Bully Crew, and I have rescued many Pitbull dogs in Kuwait and I make sure to heal them and send them to the organization in order to find them loving owners who want to adopt them.”
- What advice can you offer to animal rights activists in the Gulf and around the world?
“To future animal rights activists and rescuers, you will face many hard days and obstacles, but don’t lose hope, even if you get lots of criticism from your family and friends. The religion of Islam specifically talks about treating animals with kindness, and an example of this is a Hadith about a woman who abused a kitten and entered hell because of it.
Keep on rescuing animals and fighting for their rights, even if you do not get enough support, and I am very grateful for saving these innocent animals because they inspire me to keep on doing what I do best.”
If you are living in Kuwait or planning to live in Kuwait, and want to a pet, do not buy! Adopt instead. Mayar’s Naida Animal Shelter is there to help, and if you are an animal rescuer and activist, do not hesitate to contact her!