Growing Number of Businesses Sell Pets / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

Aumentan los Negocios para la Venta de Animales Afectivos (1)Aumentan los Negocios para la Venta de Animales Afectivos (2)Aumentan los Negocios para la Venta de Animales Afectivos (3)Aumentan los Negocios para la Venta de Animales Afectivos (4)Selling pets is one of the businesses that has been growing over the last months in Havana, the capital city.

Countless people walk around with mutts in hand along the streets and avenues, looking for purchasers for their merchandise. Others put ads in on their doors or attach signs to bus stops or crowded places, some use the well-known digital page Revolico to let people know their news. Those who go into business selling these animals, according to those in the know, do it legally.

Someone told me that lately in Havana’s Chinatown, and in Obispbo Street, this  type of trading is undertaken by the self-employed. The pictures were taken this Sunday and they attest to the fact that these private businesses, according to their owners, are profitable.

One of the dealers told me that prices vary greatly in the case of dogs and birds, and that the animals marketed are pedigree and in the case of the birds that is supported by the association. When asked about the most sold breeds he told me, “Listen, here we sell a lot of Chihuahuas,  Pekingese, Labradors, Dalmatians, and dogs for protection.”

The dealer didn’t state his name but explained that in Cuba is not only the sale of dogs and birds that is going very well, but guinea pigs, lab mice, and one of the most requested birds is the parrot, but that’s not the market that can be commercialized, he said.

One of the people observing near the animals’ cages, on hearing me ask the seller, said, “It’s good that the animals are traded, but look, the same traders don’t treat these little animals well, they don’t have water,” she said, referring to the fact that they had no water at that moment, “and that’s nothing,” the lady continued. “Many of the people who buy them don’t know how to take care of them and in many cases they over or underfeed them, and in the worst of cases they throw them out in the street where later you find these little pets with fleas and ticks,” she concluded.

Havana now exhibits a new business that according to the traders themselves, even after the boom, is not being exploited as it should be.

October 1 2012