In one year, they saved more than a thousand animals from illegal trafficking in the city

In a city where more and more families have pets and where there is already talk of “multi-species homes,” animal abuse is causing even more outrage. Above all, when justice advances, data begins to emerge that shows the scale of the crime. In just over a year, the Buenos Aires Public Prosecutor’s Office has carried out operations against wildlife trafficking, where Saved more than 1000 samples There were arrests and convictions.

The data comes from a report by Public Finance Unit Specialized in Environmental Affairs (UFEMA). Just between October 2020 and December last year, raids were carried out that ended with 33 lawsuits opened, and 17 people arrested. Of these cases, 13 have been resolved by probation, in nine cases have been requested to raise the level to trial, and in the rest of the cases the investigation is continuing.

Most of the animals rescued were birds, although they also found iguanas, snakes, rodents, and other animals that have become fashionable as pets in recent years.


In addition to live animals, in operations they found horns, skins, meat and other pieces.

In addition, UFEMA found deer antlers, heads and even Full Jaguar leatherindigenous cats are in danger of extinction.

Meanwhile, they found in an operation carried out in the fish market in Barrio Chino, in Belgrano shark meat (sea dogs and gatuzos) whose hunting and selling is illegal because they are also critically endangered, as outlined by UFEMA.

Another area of ​​focus in the financial business is dog breeders. Contrary to what many believe, In the city is forbidden: Purebred dogs can be bred as a hobby, but they cannot be marketed.

Although the regulations do not suggest effective prison sentences (because expected sentences are less than three years), there are periods of probation, community work, suspended imprisonment, and Fines of up to $500,000.

But the main punishment seems to be the capture of the animals themselves: at UFEMA they estimated that the rescued animals It was sold for over $8 millionmoney that has become a loss for human traffickers.

Magpies were found in one of the UFEMA procedures.

Magpies were found in one of the UFEMA procedures.

culture change

To many rescues in a short time? It is, just as there has been a cultural change in society towards greater awareness of animal welfare, justice itself has been modernized. In August 2020, the city attorney general’s office signed a decision deciding to focus much of UFEMA’s work on prosecuting animal trafficking.

“The great paradigm shift was to consider animals Sensitive Objects Subject to Law. Prosecutor Carlos Rollero Santurian, president of the European Football Association (UFEMA) explained that there are very important failures in this sense.

Examples of these sentences include a one-year prison sentence and a 7-month suspended sentence for a man They found 375 birds and 5 poodlesWhich, according to veterinarians, was in very poor health.

Coco, the karaya monkey rescued from an apartment in Belgrano.

Coco, the karaya monkey rescued from an apartment in Belgrano.

But perhaps the most relevant ruling is the case of “Coco,” a Karaya monkey rescued from an apartment in La Pampa at 3100, in Belgrano, where parties were held that were denounced by neighbors for the disturbing noise. The animal is at least five years old, I got locked in a closet without a lightNo water, no ventilation and I was sick.

Judge Rocio Lopez de Moro granted UFEMA’s request, ordered the monkey’s release and stated that the animals deserves the widest legal protection Considering their condition as victims and non-human beings. And that by not being able to act on their own, humans must represent them in the face of the violation of their rights. Coco was handed over to a conservation NGO for transport to the Karaya Monkey Sanctuary in Cordoba.

It is after the rescues, the animals need a lot of care, especially because they may have lost the ability to feed themselves, they depend on man to give them food, and then they cannot return to their habitat.

At UFEMA they commented that they work with NGOs such as Pajaros Caídos or the Temaiken Foundation, among others. It was also possible to reintroduce some bird samples into ecological reserve.

Traffic step by step

At UFEMA they explain that animal trafficking has a distinct way of operating. Animals are hunted at home or in neighboring countries, secretly and very carelessly transported to Buenos Aires. In fact, it is estimated that Half of the samples die on the way.

When they arrive, they collect them in homes, garages or warehouses, and present them through social networks. Privacy: To avoid being caught by network security mechanisms, traffickers do not use the word “Vendo” but rather use “Cedo” or “Permuto”.

In many cases, the animal is sold custom madethey will chase them because some customers ordered them, even from other countries.

In a house in Villa Soldati they find a capybara.

In a house in Villa Soldati they find a capybara.

There are still some people who associate owning a personal zoo with a certain social status. And there are unusual cases: on April 18, UFEMA raided a house in Pergamino at 3100, in Villa Soldati, where The owner had a capybara as a pet.

In other cases, animals It is searched for as food. As happened in the fish market in Barrio Chino, or also in the case of another raid last year they were found Dozens of guinea pigs On a secret farm in Villa 31, where meat for consumption was also found in the refrigerator.

A crime with many risks

Other than animal abuse, illegal trafficking is a crime that can cause various risks.

One, very clear, is that of zoonotic diseasesThose that are transmitted from animal to human. The anger is the most obvious example, but it also psittacosis, an infectious disease transmitted by birds of the parrot family, such as macaws or macaws, which can be fatal. It is believed, in fact, that the Covid pandemic began in China due to the consumption of meat from bats infected with the then unknown SARS-Covid-2 mutation.

Another problem is the damage done to the environment through break the ecosystem Uproot the animals from their place and take them where they should not be. That is, in an extreme and unlikely case, they can reproduce uncontrollably in a new habitat and became an epidemic.

Therefore, the neighborhood complaint is important. The most direct way is to write to an email ufema@fiscalias.gob.arProvide as much information as possible. In the judiciary, they receive thousands of complaints per month and organize three or more procedures per week.

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