The Government Unearths a Case of Illegal Slaughter of Livestock To Warn Farmers

 The three involved in the robbery, which occurred in 2022, were sentenced to six and nine years in prison

The robbery occurred on 5 September 2022, in the Gratitude cooperative of the Avila municipality of Majagua / Cubadebate

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, April 25, 2024 — The official press unearthed, this Wednesday, the case of theft of two horses and two oxen in Ciego de Ávila in 2022, perpetrated by three farmers living in Sancti Spíritus. The news, which announced the penalty of nine and six years in prison for those involved, coincides with the process of livestock and land control carried out by the Government from this March until the month of May.

According to the newspaper Escambray, the three men, 40, 41 and 27 years old, who “had the mission of producing and protecting the land (…) in the area of La Teresita, near Majagua, disrupted the honorable profession by the illegal slaughter of livestock that belonged to others.” In addition, it highlights, two of them have “long criminal records,” which include several years in prison and fines. The third accused, although he has no criminal record, “maintains social misconduct,” the newspaper argues.

The robbery occurred on 5 September 2022, in the Gratitude cooperative of the municipality of Majagua in Avila, where those involved cut the fence and took the animals, three of them from the company and one owned by a farmer. These were slaughtered and sold at 100 pesos per pound of meat.

 The animals were slaughtered and sold at 100 pesos per pound of meat

“During the investigative process, the Police carried out searches in the homes of the three defendants and found meat and instruments used in the illegal slaughter, plus a scale used in the sale. With this evidence, they proceeded to arrest said citizens,” the newspaper summarizes.

Two years after the crime, two of the defendants were sentenced to nine years in prison and the other to six years, for theft and illegal slaughter of livestock and sale of the meat. They must also jointly compensate those harmed, the newspaper added.

Another food-related crime occurred recently in Las Tunas, where the Ministry of the Interior seized six tons of potatoes from a private company in the main municipality. According to the official press, the authorities noted the “illegality of the invoices” of the business, so the product was withdrawn and an investigation initiated.

An agent of the ministry, Ender Simón Gutiérrez, explained to the local newspaper Periódico 26 that, “in reviewing the documentation of the alleged legal purchase, it did not justify the origin of the volume of the product.”

The potatoes had been acquired by the private company in the province of Artemisa and were sold in the city of Las Tunas at 80 pesos per pound, a price that, the newspaper says, was not authorized either. In the ration stores of the province, the price of one pound of potatoes is 11 pesos, while in the state markets leased to private individuals it is 70 pesos.

The government company Acopio, where the tubers were delivered, distributed the tons between the Ernesto Guevara hospitals, the pediatric Mártires de Las Tunas and the Clodomira Acosta psychiatric hospital, in addition to the Carlos Font nursing home, the Calixto Sarduy medical center and two children’s homes without government subsidies. These centers, adds Periódico 26, with praise for the agents who “watch over the legality,” “now have a good amount of that product to reinforce the feeding of patients, the elderly and children.”

The prosecution of crimes related to food production in the country has intensified in recent months, and the Government’s inability to import food has become evident. The control of the farmers, in which a “hard hand” was promised, is one of the strategies to alleviate the crisis. Despite the farmers’ discomfort, quantities of “diverted” products have been returned to the State.

 The prosecution of the authorities for crimes related to food production in the country has intensified

An article published on April 19 in Periódico 26 revealed that, in Las Tunas alone, when only a fifth of the registration had been completed, the Ministry of Agriculture managed to add to the state inventory 30,170 liters of milk, 27 tons of beef and 142 tons of agricultural products that were not being delivered to the State.

“The first data reveal a negative difference between the livestock counts in the records and the one that really exists in the pastures, without documents that appropriately support the reasons for that lack,” the media said at the time. In addition, there are cases of “delayed conversions, improperly registered births, unidentified animals and illegal sales.”

History repeats itself in Artemis, where the authorities found all kinds of misdeeds: animals without a brand or ear tag, with unreported changes of category, outside the farm without authorization and without documents have been just some of the 9,300 violations counted.

State pressure on farmers and landowners, added to the fear of being fined or locked up, has forced them to attend en masse to the livestock control records and to register the animals that have died or were raised illegally. However, the number of violations is still remarkable. In just a month and a half of “controls” in the province, the authorities have added to the State plan 2,600 liters of milk that the farmers did not deliver to the official channels, according to El Artemiseño.

Last February, the theft of 133 tons of frozen chicken from the Food Marketing Company of Havana was also news, which ended with 30 defendants, 11 of them in pretrial detention.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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