Cuba’s first-ever animal-welfare law was issued on Apr. 10, mandating fines for abuse but giving a green light to cockfights and animal sacrifices that take place in the context of religious ceremonies, according to France 24. The new rules, published by the Council of State, explain that the purpose of the decree is to bring about “a harmonious relationship between human beings and other species, as an indispensable condition for the existence of all.” While cockfights sponsored by state-sanctioned clubs are permitted, dogfights on the island are now legally forbidden. Animal sacrifices during Santeria ceremonies are also allowed, but they “must be carried out rapidly and compassionately, to avoid pain and stress." Protected species include “all mammals, birds, bees, reptiles, fish, mollusks, crustaceans and amphibians." Violations will carry fines from $21 to $167.
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