Believe it or not but Pakistan's Punjab Assembly in its "(in)finite wisdom" has declared the flightless bird Ostrich as an animal.
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, The Nation has reported.
An editorial in the Dawn on 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 said.
Punjab law minister Rana Sana said that the provincial government had included Ostrich in the category of animals like goats and sheep to meet the increasing demand for meat in the province.
He argued that farming and sale of Ostrich's meat was in vogue across the world which was also good for human consumption, The Nation reported.
The Dawn said special interests lobbying for the change in rules are surely hoping to earn windfall profits and it has yet to be explained what loss the state exchequer may suffer from this.
"More importantly, by classifying ostriches as animals, are necessary health precautions that specialised ostrich farming may require — as opposed to more conventional animal meat — being overlooked?
"If the denizens of Punjab want ostrich meat, they are entitled to it — but it must be purveyed in a manner that is safe, healthy and without circumventing the rules," it said.