HAVANA, Feb 8th. Fines of up to 7 thousand pesos could be applied against those who exercise various forms of animal abuse in Cuba, warn officials of the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG).
A MINAG team met with representatives of civil society and the State in order to debate issues regarding the draft Animal Welfare Law presented by activists since last year and postponed by the National Assembly, which will discuss the activation of the regulations this February.
The meeting was attended by members of the Animal Welfare of Cuba (BAC), led by its president Javier Larrea Formoso, and representatives of the Association for the Protection of Animals and Plants (AniPlant), the only organization of the legal civil sector on the island.
Both they and MINAG officials agreed that “the amount of the fines must be rigorous,” according to an article in Cubadebate. The deputy director of Animal Health, Cristóbal Arredondo Alfonso, suggested incorporating into the study programs of the Ministry of Education subjects and contents that address animal welfare issues.
“Many people were very disappointed because there was no law and it could not be sanctioned,” explained García Pérez about the broad popular demand to activate, for the first time, a regulation concerned with recognizing animal rights on the island.
Within the typologies of animal abuse, the activists recalled the weight of zoophilia, whose severity tends to be minimized in Cuban society. According to Larrea Formoso, the possibility of including this figure in the Penal Code should be considered.
The also law student has suffered the consequences of legal helplessness and the state of anarchy and barbarism that exists in Cuba with respect to animals when his two dogs were poisoned last Saturday.
A similar event had already been reported in the city of Santa Clara in the same week.
In relation to dogfighting, the deputy director of Animal Health reported that they will be totally prohibited, instead, he made a distinction with respect to cockfighting, which he considered “part of our culture and idiosyncrasy”, even when these birds fight to death within a circular fence from which they cannot escape, and their perception of pain has been shown to be similar to that of mammals, therefore suffering is also the same