The Cuban government has passed a long-awaited animal welfare law after decades of ignoring citizens’ demands for animal rights legislation. The Animal Welfare Bill requires state agencies and animal welfare organizations to uphold duties concerning animal physical and mental health while prohibiting all forms of animal abuse, which carries fines up to 7,000 pesos. These duties extend to keepers of livestock, animals in sport and pets. Animal custodians are now required to seek preventative and emergency veterinary care for their animals.
The Ministry of Agriculture stated in a recent press release that the decree aims to “regulat[e] the principles, duties, rules and purposes regarding the care, health and use of animals to guarantee their well-being.” Lawmakers hope this new legislation will create a national dialogue to change commonly held beliefs about animal rights in Cuba.
The new legislation comes amid mounting pressure from the younger generation of animal activists who have been organizing public protests and social media campaigns and recently organized a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Agriculture. “This has set an example for all communities that want their voice to be heard,” said movement leader Beatriz Batista. “You have to pressure, pressure.”
The youth movements have resulted in initiatives to rescue and sterilize stray animals, remove animal carcasses from public places, and ban spiritual animal sacrifices. Despite these initiatives, the Agriculture Ministry wrote on its website that new legislation would not ban animal sacrifice but would mandate that sacrifices be conducted in a “compassionate and rapid manner, avoiding pain and stress.”
The Cuban Parliament expects the animal welfare law to enter into force within 90 days and is due to be published in the Official Gazette of the Republic.
This article was translated from English into Spanish by JURIST Editor Daniela Comesanas Carmona. To view the translated article in Spanish click here.
Este artículo fue traducido de Inglés a Español por la editora de JURIST Daniela Comesanas Carmona. Para ver el artículo traducido en Español, da click aquí.