Day: April 21, 2022

Ukraine: The War in Ukraine is Powerfully Magnifying Our Love For Animals.

A woman is saving disabled dogs from a shelter in #Irpin, #Kyiv region, which has been under heavy Russian shelling and air strikes.

Published: March 15, 2022 2.33pm GMT

A little girl huddles in a bunker, stroking her dog.

From amid the rubble, blood-stained and shell-shocked people emerge, clutching their pets.

A man fleeing a bombed apartment building carries a cat and a goldfish. Some people refuse to leave Ukraine without their animals.

War exposes many truths, the brutal and the valiant. The war in Ukraine is powerfully and painfully magnifying the interconnectedness of human and animal lives, and, mercifully, our unrelenting commitment to acting with love, even in the face of lethal danger.

Domesticated animals are affected by almost every human decision and those involving violence most of all, whether they’re hidden in factory farms or captured by the lenses of photographers and broadcast globally.

Animals are always affected by war. Millions of horses and donkeys were taken from the farms of poor people to the carnage-filled fronts of the First World War and pigeons were strapped with messages.

Even to this day, military working dogs are either celebrated as heroes or unceremoniously euthanized.

Animals suffer along with people

An animal keeper comforts an anxious elephant at the Kiev Zoo in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a large convoy of Russian tanks and other vehicles threatened the capital. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

In all places where violence is a persistent poison or a swift eruption, animals suffer alongside human victims. Animals have rich intellectual and emotional lives that we are slowly beginning to recognize.

In Ukraine, they are exhibiting feelings of intense fear, pain and confusion. They apparently don’t understand why their worlds are being turned upside down.

A woman named Alisa fled Kyiv on foot with her mother, sister, children and two dogs — including an elderly German Shepherd named Pulya — and shared her experience with The Guardian.

“My dog is 12 and a half and she struggled to walk and fell down every kilometre or so and couldn’t stand up again. I stopped cars and asked for help but everyone refused; they advised us to leave the dogs. But our dogs are part of our family. My dog has experienced all the happy and sad moments with us. Mum’s dog is all she has left of her former life. So my husband, at times, carried our dog on his shoulders.”

Alisa’s husband carrying Pulya, their 12-and-a-half-year-old dog, to the border with Poland.

My own family includes rescued German Shepherds, and the images of this 80-pound, grey-muzzled dog being carried to Poland so she would survive gripped my heart. We would do the same for our dogs. We won’t have to, and for that we are deeply grateful. But no one should have to.

Some horses are also being evacuated from Ukraine, and others are being released by hopeful people who believe the animals have the best chance of surviving on their own.

Horses are similarly let loose when natural disasters, like forest forest, tear through landscapes. We can anticipate and prepare for some emergencies. Others, like sudden invasions, we cannot as easily plan for — but we can respond in kind.

Antonina, 84, sits in a wheelchair after being evacuated along with her 12 dogs from Irpin, at a triage point in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

World sending help to animals

The world is responding. Neighbouring countries are allowing animals to enter with migrants — some, shamefully, more quickly than they’re admitting racialized people. Shelters and veterinarians are providing urgent care. Organizations globally are developing plans to accept the animals of refugees from Ukraine and beyond.

Some terrified animals have been transported from zoos to immediate safety. Non-profits from across Europe and around the world are sending supplies and veterinarians. They need support.

The real extent of the damage remains to be seen, but the effects will be wide-reaching. As farms and shelters run out of food, water and workers, or lose electricity, untold numbers of animals will suffer and die, quickly or very slowly.

We are all connected, within and across borders, within and across species. Ukrainians who remain and are defending the lives of others demonstrate profound bravery that resides deep in the human spirit.

Anastasiia Yalanskaya, a 26-year-old woman who refused to leave Kyiv, was killed while delivering food to an animal shelter that had been without food for three days. Another animal advocate, Natasha Derkach, was killed as she worked to save animals in Dnipro, a city under siege from heavy shelling.

There are many more victims. Ukrainians are losing their lives defending animals.

Confronting abuse

Ukraine has been creating a more humane society in many ways. Nature Watch has been working in partnership with Ukrainian organizations to confront abuse and foster a culture of care for animals.

A week before the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, 2022, I was contacted by a colleague to assist a Ukrainian city hoping to create the country’s first animal cruelty unit. My colleague later received a powerful message from an animal advocate inside Ukraine who was afraid they might never speak again.

This war has laid bare the violence of abusive men who terrorize people and animals. It has demonstrated what losing your freedom really looks like.

But the dedication Ukrainian people have shown to animals reveals that even in the most dangerous times, the human capacity for cruelty is rivalled only by our ability to be courageous and compassionate. We can be more than simply human. We can be truly humane.

See the many photographs associated with this article by clicking on:

The war in Ukraine is powerfully magnifying our love for animals (

Regards Mark

The devastation of beautiful cities in Ukraine caused by Russian Warmongers

Why do some want to destroy when there is this beauty for free in the world ?

Cuba: Animal Rights March in Cuba, Despite No Authorization.

Animal rights activists marched on Sunday April 10, 2022 in Havana. Photo: Pedro Sosa Tabio.

“The majority of us here are independent protectors and we seek to raise people’s awareness about looking after animals.”

By Pedro Sosa Tabio 

HAVANA TIMES – On Sunday 10th April, Dog Day in Cuba, dozens of people met outside the entrance to Havana’s Colon Cemetery to go on a pilgrimage to Jeannette Ryder’s grave, a US philanthropist living on the island who dedicated herself to looking after plants, children and especially animals.

“The majority of us here are independent protectors and we seek to pay tribute to Jeannette Ryder’s great work, to our own work and to raise people’s awareness about looking after animals,” Gilda Arencibia, an animal rights advocate for many years, said. “We have a lot of love for animals, especially the animals in our country, who have always been unprotected and abused.”

A few days ago, a cat was thrown into the ring during a show at the Rancho Boyeros Fairground, so people could chase it, lasso and beat it. Photos went viral on social media. As did the animal rights community’s outrage. Days later, it was reported that the people responsible were fined 1500 and 3000 Cuban pesos.

“The solutions they give us are fictitious, a simulation. As far as I understand, Decree-Law (No.31/2021 of Animal Protection) doesn’t do absolutely anything to protect animals and animal rights advocates, who are unprotected. There is no law that protects us,” animal rights activist Saily Maria Garcia said.

The cat in the ring incident was the main reason for animal rights advocates meeting at Colon Cemetery, holding signs against animal abuse and wearing orange clothes, the color of this cause.

The idea to march isn’t new, but there were different efforts to quell it this year.

A grave’s symbolism

Jeannette Ryder’s grave displays a statue of the lady’s body lying down with a dog laying at her feet. Rinti was her pet and the story goes that when she passed away, her dog laid in front of her grave and also perished, refusing to eat and drink.

This grave is a symbol for animal rights advocates, which is why it is the final destination for the pilgrimage. They gather around the grave. They fill the edges with different kinds of flowers and cover the grave with a Cuban flag.

They walk past Maria, who receives applause from the whole crowd. Maria is a short and wrinkled old woman, with white hair. They ask her how long she’s been working with animals. Maria remembers being in the cemetery for years, when she was called to look after a dog that had been bitten by rats. Then, there was another dog with scabies. Somebody from the crowd corrects her: her work dates back a lot further, she’s been looking after animals for many years and is one of the founders of today’s animal protection movement in Cuba. Maria nods and says she has photos of that dog’s face full of scabies. She’s only interested in talking about the dog, about how much the dog needed her help.

There are lots of people like Maria taking part in the short pilgrimage, who dedicate themselves to looking after animals, treating them, rescuing them from precarious conditions, looking for families to adopt them…

“Patricia, who isn’t here today, was summoned to a police station yesterday, even though she hadn’t committed a crime, has never had run-ins with the Law, has always given her body and soul to animals and nobody has ever knocked on her door to give her a plate of food,” animal rights activist Freddie Filo tells the crowd. “It’s sad that she isn’t here on a day like this. She is always with us here. She also founded this.”

Behind the group, on the other side of the passageway that separates one block of graves from the next, several State Security agents dressed as civilians supervised the march. The pilgrimage is a new reason for them to deploy their well-known popular “control” tactics.

Animal rights advocates gathered at Jeannette Ryder’s grave. Photo: Pedro Sosa Tabio.

23rd and F Streets

The call for the Cuban pilgrimage for Dog Day was spread on social media with a poster. The poster had a photo of a puppy and encouraged people to meet on April 10th, at 10 AM, in the park on 23rd and F Streets, at the beginning of the normal route to the cemetery.

Days before the scheduled date, some animal rights activists: Patricia Gonzalez, Aylin Sardiña and Betty Batista Romero, were summoned by the police to prevent them from taking part in the event.

“Second Lieutenant Camila and another official showed up at my door around 10:30 PM, to ask me what I’d be doing tomorrow. I would like to take part in the pilgrimage and raise my voice against animal abuse (…), but sadly, I’ve been threatened with charges of sedition if I decide to go. She made this very clear in the subpoena she gave me the day before yesterday, but she believed she needed to warn me again,” Batista Romero wrote on his Facebook page.

On Sunday April 10th, at about 9 AM, there were around four people wearing orange clothes and with their chihuahuas in the park on 23rd and F Streets.

Approximately five minutes later, a stout and grey-haired man, wearing trousers and a checked shirt, told them they’d have to leave. They requested an explanation and he explained that the pilgrimage hadn’t been banned, but that it could only take place within the cemetery’s bounds. The small group agreed to leave.

Susana Bisbe confirmed this on her social media when she informed animal rights advocates that State Security wouldn’t let them begin the march in the park on 23rd and F Streets and that they all had to head to the cemetery.

Hours before the pilgrimage, the Government announced the call for an animal protection fair in different Havana municipalities, on social media. The coincidence with the date and time of the march made some activists suspicious of this government initiative.

What are they scared of?

The first pilgrimage in Cuba for Dog Day was in 1994, from Jeannette Ryder’s grave to G Street in Vedado. However, the 2019 pilgrimage was the most important when hundreds of people took part in a march authorized – and not summoned – by the capital’s government, from Parque Quijote, on 23rd and J Streets, to the cemetery.

In addition to having had a greater turnout than this year, slogans against animal abuse were shouted along the whole way and the police were even present, cutting off streets busy with traffic so that the crowd could pass by.

However, the government’s negative response to similar initiatives in other provinces, suggests that the “authorization” in 2019, could have been a mistake.

What lessons does the animal rights march on April 7th teach Cubans?

The march on April 7th taught many lessons that can be used by those who believe you can legitimately fight for your rights in Cuba or by those who want to expose inconsistencies in Socialist Rule of Law.

Even though the right to protest is recognized in Article 56 of the Constitution, very few initiatives called independently of the Government have been authorized. Others were repressed by police authorities or criminalized when they did finally take place.

On May 11th 2019, Cuba’s LGBTI community held its own march against homophobia and transphobia, after the traditional conga normally held this time of year was canceled. During the peaceful parade, many participants were repressed and arrested by the police, who tried to stop the protest.

On November 27th 2020, a great military operation cut off streets surrounding the Ministry of Culture, where approximately 300 young people held a sit-in to protest the repression members of the San Isidro Movement had suffered. Even though there weren’t any clashes between repressive forces and protestors, the peaceful protest and its leaders were demonized by state-controlled media. Then, some of the participants were interrogated, harassed, and threatened by State Security.

Over a thousand people were sanctioned or sentenced to prison for up to 20 years because of the July 11th and 12th 2021 protests, charged with theft, public disorder, incitement, contempt and sedition.

In October 2021, the Cuban Government denied authorization for a “Peaceful Protest for Change”, arguing that “the reasons for the protest held no legitimacy.” Days later, its main organizers – who created the Archipielago platform – were victims of police harassment and threats, interrogations, slander campaigns in the media and hate crimes.

Against such a backdrop, the Government seems to be intent on stopping spontaneous or programmed protests in Cuban society. However, the pilgrimage against animal abuse took place, even if it was regulated and policed.

One of the reasons for the animal rights advocates’ march was the abuse of a cat during a rodeo show in Boyeros. Photo: Pedro Sosa Tabio.

Animal Rights March in Cuba, Despite No Authorization – Havana Times

Regards Mark