Entertainment in Cuba, a law on animal welfare, welcome but still incomplete
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© Yamil Lage A huge cuban flag under construction against the American Embassy, in Havana on April 1, 2021 A huge cuban flag in concrete right in front From the US Embassy to Havana: the new Communist government's construction project, which reflects the persistent tensions between the two countries, triggered mockery on the Internet.
Animal Defenders In Cuba welcomed the publication of the first law on animal welfare in the country, a "first step" important but still insufficient, fighting of religious roosters and sacrifices remaining authorized.
"This is only a first step and the path will be very long," reacted to AFP Grettel Montes de Oca, founder of the Cuban Association in Defense of Animals (CEDA), who learned the new As she was looking for food for the 60 animals she gathered at her island at recurring shortages.
"But it is necessarily positive that now there is a law", even though "there are a lot of things that are not good "in the text, she added.
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Cuba published Saturday its law on animal welfare, the first in the history of the country and under the unpublished pressure of civil society. It will come into effect in 90 days.
"For example, the authorities will continue to pick up the animals on the street and sacrifice the dogs (stray), and (there will always be) the fights of roosters, the abuse of animals in the shows, the circuses, the rodeos, the rodeos, The zoos ", regretted Grettel Montes de Oca.
But it is true that "we were the most late country in Latin America and the Caribbean" in matters of animal protection.
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in Article 9, the text "prohibits persons from provoking the clash between animals of any species, with the exception approved by the competent authority".
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The dog fights are thus prohibited, but those of roosters, very rooted tradition in Cuba since even the family ownership of Fidel Castro had a arena dedicated to this activity, remains authorized as part of specific clubs supervised by the state.
"They left the fights of roosters !!! I thought we would advance in the recognition that it is an act of cruelty for lucrative purposes", denounced Yimel Diaz Malmierca on one Groups of animal defenders on Facebook.
Similarly, the sacrifices of animals by Santeria, syncretic religion from Nigeria and brought to Cuba by slaves, remain authorized. The decree, however, has that "the sacrifice of animals must be performed with compassion and speed, to avoid pain and stress".
It is not uncommon to cross in the streets of Havana of the corpses of chickens or pigeons decapitated by the followers of this religion, the most popular on the island.
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"It's not possible that at every street corner there is a dead animal," said AFP Patricia Gonzalez, a nurse who collected at home 14 dogs and 20 cats.
"I come from a family of African origin and when I was a child, there were not so many sacrifices, my mother told me that sometimes, with a prayer and an offering of flowers, a miracle could arrive" , she added.
- Victory of civil society -
The legal standard considers as animals to protect "all mammal, bird, bee, reptile, fish, mollusc, crustacean and amphibian".
They "must be taken care of, neat and protected by man," says the decree, which provides for fines between 500 and 4,000 pesos ($ 21 to $ 167) in case of abuse.
The legislation is considered a victory of civil society, more claimant since the recent arrival of the Internet in Cuba and which sees for the first time one of its requests translated into law.
On April 7, 2019, some 500 people had scrolled in Havana to claim a law protecting animals, the first independent and non-political event ever authorized by the Cuban State. In February, about twenty animal defenders had gathered again against the Ministry of Agriculture.
"The establishment of normative provisions that guarantee animal welfare and provoke awareness in our population on the care and respect of animals is a request from our society," says the decree, published by the Council of 'State.
"As animal defenders, we must tell us that from these standards, we will know how to work in the future, what to insist to mobilize public opinion and make them aware of them", observes Grettel Montes de OCA. "We know it's an endless fight, daily, with patience and intelligence."
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