Entre picotazos y aullidos…

By Teresa Díaz Canals

Movimiento animalista cubano

“Spread that peace on earth
that reign you do in heaven.”
Vincenso Bellini
Aria “Casto Diva”
from the opera Norma

Owning reason – something very relative – and having the ability to choose seem to restrict rights only to human beings. However, the capacity to suffer could bring animals into the realm of rights. There is currently a period of lifting the demand of some sectors of the Cuban population for the adoption of an animal protection law. To this point has come this aspiration, that in April of this year a demonstration was held in the city of Havana for this purpose. Its organizers transited from the area of the Coppelia ice cream parlour to the tomb of Jeannette Ryder, the American woman who lived in Cuba in the early twentieth century and founded a Protective Society of Children, Animals and Plants, known as the Bando de Piedad.
There are two attention-worthy issues. The first is that the scheduled route was not made as a result of a vertical orientation from top to bottom, where everything was prepared, well conceived, but as an impostergable need of Cuban civil society. This act is an unpublished fact in the last years of Cuban life. Such an initiative in turn motivated in Santa Clara the attempt at such an activity, but was not approved.
The second issue is to see on social media the daily appearance of representatives of emerging civil society organizations, which transmit the deplorable state of stray dogs in some places, especially in Havana, victims of the most horrific insidia, run over, veded, burned, sick, hungry. “Injustice is always there, where you least expect it, and if you know it you can’t stop fighting it. You can’t stop trying to defeat it.”1 These groups – Aniplant (officially recognized), Cubans in Animal Defense (CEDA), City Animal Protection Group (PAC), Hope for Cuban Paws, Street Puppies in Cuba, etc. – conduct free sterilization, vaccination and castration campaigns, raise awareness of animal rights, organize adoptions, among other activities.
Solidarity, good intentions, the gender of others with donations, the initiatives of creating shelters, the formation of a network of aid and rescue for dogs and cats has been deployed in various points of the national space and already today some of these creatures are recovered in whole or in part according to the news that is reported. But the phenomenon continues because there is no – first of all – a law that stops criminality with dogs, cats, horses and all kinds of old people from beings of other non-human species.
There is a rumor that perhaps calms the unrest in the face of so much government silence: the law is coming out, only that it is being “studied.” If so, why is it not reported, if there is a Round Table where what is in the public interest, is explained. As an official thing, without exaltation, it was announced in a newspaper, very reservedly, that perhaps at the end of this year the first Animal Welfare Law will be passed. I hope that the law will appear, which would not represent the definitive solution of the problem, but it would be the beginning of a more flexible, more satisfactory process for those engaged in this type of human activity. I hope they don’t go down the tangent and make an essential claim. However, this concern, such care, must become a public policy that translates not only into what is right for a group of individuals, but because we must learn in the atmosphere of a culture of peace, in coexistence with other species.

It is time for everything we have felt, but we have not dared to think, everything we have thought, but we have not dared to say, all the murmurs of the immeasible border areas manifest thee and live in truth. Will other whispers be real about the existence of rooster fences and breeding horses intended for racing in other countries? If these sayings are true quietly, they would be the testimony of the mockery of work, to the patient and tenacious task, to the accepted deprivations with a view to the future, but it would be above all cynical applause and disrespect to a sensitive part of the people who ask for help for a species that has no voice. I say more from an ethical perspective, everything that was considered true would be unmasked as a dangerous, perfidious, underground lie. The sacred pretext of improving Cubans would appear as an cunning to exhaust life itself. It would be the continuation of the colonial era, let us remember that from 1822 to 1832 the representative of the Spanish crown in Cuba, Francisco Dionisio Vives (half military and half bandit) handled the vices of Creole society: games, banditry, attachment to dissipation, as a way to divert it from all political activity. His term of office is known as the government of the three kisses: Dance, Deck and Bottle; kept for his own recreation a joint and a rooster fence in force Castle. Will it be the eternal return of things?
I’m not going into the ostrich’s pachanga. I’m not excited to look right and respond with jokes to a topic of delicate content. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be the main victims of the great economic mistakes made. I do not yet find debates about the search for real alternatives to economic downscraging because of the ineffectiveness of an ignorant and/or irresponsible policy. I don’t know how to rate her. How is it possible to value the consumption of juties in national territory when they – according to specialists – are in the category of high degree of threat or vulnerable to extinction? This is the case of the Andaraz jutía, exclusive to the provinces of Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo. The jutías conga and carabalí, although they do not have this threat, are endemic species that have suffered a considerable decrease of some local populations by hunting. In addition, actions such as mining, indiscriminate logging, forest fires, tourism development, pollution, the presence of invasive species competing for food and transmitting diseases.2
“Only when the gaze opens to the par of the visible does an aurora become.” Ω

1 Gargallo Francesca: Spring of two sources, Mexico, Michoacano Institute of Culture, Joan Boldó i Climent, Editors, 1993, p. 13.
2 See Jules A. Larramendi (Comp.): Faces in Danger. Threatened Cuban species, Guatemala City, Ediciones Polymita S.A., 2011, pp. 292-301.

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