Who Gave Us the Power to Imprison?

Irina Echarry

The crime the animal had attempted to commit (only attempted) was to breathe fresh air.

“Why is he hitting it?”  I asked myself as I watched from far as a young guy beat a pig.  To its added misfortune, the animal had been condemned to live without seeing the sun in a thrown-together pen made of metal sheeting and rebar.

The crime the animal had attempted to commit (only attempted) was to breathe fresh air, relief from the stench of its own feces and rotting food.  Perhaps its instinct told it: “Out there is something different from the darkness,” and it wanted to see the sky…the clouds.

But there appeared its owner to prevent that.  A stick or something long and hard helped him.  The blows resonated inside the premises as if he were playing a batá drum, and striking with the same force.  With that pain-filled rhythm, and with the laments of the pig forming the melody, it occurred to no one to dance.  Or did it?

To its side, a neighbor of the pig sympathized with it in silence.  It was a dog that I’ve never seen, although I visited the building in front some months ago.  The walls of its cell hide it from the light; I only know it from its howls of loneliness.  I don’t know what size it is or what contagious disease they’re hiding by confining it.

Pens of roosters and hens, ducks and geese.  Zoos or storage sheds with animals living under the most deplorable conditions.  Likewise, wild birds put into small jails in the form of cages by youth who like to hunt.

Zoos or storage sheds with animals living under the most deplorable conditions.

With all this, I have to ask: When did someone give us the power to determine who we can imprison and who can be left free?   Who are we to subject these defenseless neighbors to punishment so severe as captivity or the prevention of movement?

It makes me want to scream: Freedom is a right that no one should violate, but that is an old and worn-out phrase.

The truth?  Who cares if a pig doesn’t see the light of day or if a human is so locked up in his own anger and problems that he doesn’t notice the suffering of another life.

He doesn’t realize that, with that abuse, other bars are drawing shut and submerging him in brutality and indolence.  He is unaware that he’s increasingly moving away from what one could define as “humanity.”

Meanwhile we continue waiting for a law that protects our animals.  Unfortunately, it has to be approved by humans.

Irina Echarry

Irina Echarry: I enjoy reading, going to the movies and spending time with my friends. Many of the people I love are dead, or are no longer in Cuba. I will do my best to transmit my thoughts, ideas or worries via these pages so you can get to know me. I will give an idea of my age, since it helps explain certain things. I’m over thirty-five, and I think that’s enough information. I don’t have any children yet, or nieces or nephews. There are days when I transform myself into a child with no age at all in order to see life from another angle. It helps me break the monotony and survive in this strange world.

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2 thoughts on “Who Gave Us the Power to Imprison?

  • Yes I agree, very nicely written. This is something that has bothered me on my visits to Habana is the treatment of animals. And in Guanabo the horses pulling the carriages by the end of the day were so sad. Unfortunately many people in Cuba do not get enough to eat as it is and that leaves very little left over for the animals. Not to mention having the money to afford a veterinarian.

  • Dear Irina,
    What a wonderful article and so necessary to be written. How can there be a humane world without humane treatment of animals. How sad if someone can no longer feel the pain of another sentient being.
    I really like reading your articles.

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