The residents of Torreon live among perpetual violence brought upon by the drug war. Still, citizens have organized to help promote animal rights and welfare issues, serving as reminders of what is possible with solidarity.
Stray dogs roaming city streets is a common sight across the country. Like in most parts of Mexico, packs of strays parade through the streets of Torreon; the animals’ physical conditions and weather-beaten fur coats offer clues to the difficult and often short lives they live.
In response, a number of shelters for stray dogs and cats have been established. Some shelters are neighborhood operated enterprises, which use social media and word of mouth to receive basic supplies like kibble, while others are more established with better resources. However, the plight of strays in Torreon is just one of several animal rights issues plaguing the region.
The Union Animalista de La Laguna (UAL) is one organization that resulted from the area’s need to address animal rights issues.
“We began to organize late last year to raise awareness of the rights of all animals,” UAL administrator Mari Robles said, “but the organization officially came together this year.”
“This year, for the most part, we have engaged in a lot of anti bullfighting nonviolent manifestations, because unfortunately there have been numerous bull runs in this region lately. The pro bullfighting contingent has tried to keep this cruel spectacle going by lowering prices, but to our delight attendance has remained low,” she added.
The area’s frequenting circuses which use performing animals are another target for UAL. In Mexico, even the minimal standards of care afforded to performing animals by the Animal Welfare Act, don’t exist.
In response, UAL conducts “performances” outside of circuses, which consist of members acting out the life of caged performing animals, so that they can, as Robles puts it, “bring a level of consciousness to the population of the level of cruelty and torture that these animals go through for their entertainment.”
According to Robles, UAL aims to win over hearts and minds, specially those of new generations.
“UAL programs also include going to schools, speaking to school children and promoting veganism through a message of respect and justice to all living creatures,” Robles said.
“We want the youth of Mexico to be conscious of the rights of animals, and we want this change to be reflected by the generations that come after us.”
This is a demonstration that animal rights and welfare issues transcend boundaries, languages, and culture. All that’s needed is a little initiative and organization.
To quote Edward Everett Hale,
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something…What I can do, I should do.”
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— Israel Igualate, exclusive to Global Animal