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    Livestock theft and slaughter: a major problem

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    Hurto y sacrificio de ganado: un problema mayor

    Everything indicates that escalation is difficult to put a brake on and that the sanctions of the courts, even being excessive compared to other crimes, have not managed to contain this infraction.

    When Rubiseyda Martínez Aguilar says that 1,689 heads of cattle were stolen in 2021, the figure seems frightening because it also offers the background of the misdeeds in the paddocks: in 2020, "barely" there were 824 heads.

    The events doubled. Moreover, the impact of the data offered by the head of the Department of Genetics and Livestock Control in the province is not diminished, with the exception that last year, 12 animals reappeared.

    Only another number could "disguise" the seriousness of the events: that of deaths, which almost multiplied the illegal slaughter by six. If we assume that 191,281 cattle grazed at the end of 2021 and, according to the Agriculture report in its balance assembly, the mortality rate reached 4.8 percent; that is the approximate number of deaths, 9,000 heads.

    However, even if not all the deaths were natural (because malnutrition, lack of water or poor management are not) the slaughter—let us say it like it is—is never natural. This is illegal slaughter, not authorized slaughter after meeting plans and parameters. That's why the numbers are frightening, because if we were talking about effects on the economy, the calculated figure for illegal slaughter is around 9 million pesos, while that of deaths would have to be multiplied, also by 6? Moreover, the cost of setbacks in livestock is added.

    Because, in addition, the animals that continue to graze do not yield what they should either. We are left owing millions of liters of milk and the meat that goes to the Meat Products Company, according to the contracts, has more uncertainty than pounds.

    The damage has been almost equal parts. "928 cattle and 749 horses," Rubiseyda reports, who assures that the damage has been notorious in several municipalities and "the analysis could be wrong if it is done schematically."

    “In Ciego de Ávila, for example, they slaughtered 411 heads and with an index of 1.21; in Baraguá they sacrificed 232 and it is 0.79; in Ciro Redondo, 228, and appears with 1.60; while Venezuela 187 head, for a 1.04. Those were the municipalities with the worst situation, since the indices fluctuate depending on the total number of heads that each one has. That is why the analysis has to be for each fact and derive in the causes and consequences”.

    The Agriculture report itself gave clues in this regard and pointed out as the main causes "the lack of control of the mass by the livestock UEB and the private sector, and counts that are not carried out with depth, frequency and required responsibility."

    That was the past, I mean, in 2021. However, the figures, at the end of January, once again focused on the consequences: 235 illegal sacrifices, 128 in cattle and 107 in horses. For criminals to continue at this rate, 2022 could double 2021, which, in turn, doubled 2020... Everything indicates that escalation is difficult to put a stop to and that the sanctions of the courts, even being excessive compared to other crimes, do not have managed to contain this infringement.

    Reports from three other provinces also show it. Sancti Spíritus recorded 1,746 cattle thefts; Las Tunas reported 4,454 slaughtered heads, and Matanzas, 1,212 ones.