Venezuelans are leaving their pets to starve as economic crisis worsens

Widespread food shortages have affected both people and animals in Venezuela

Charlie Atkin
Wednesday 07 September 2016 13:07
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Venezuelans are leaving their pets to starve

Venezuelans are having to abandon their starving pets as the already severe economic crisis continues to worsen.

Forced to choose between feeding themselves or their animals, middle-class Venezuelans are abandoning their pets in the streets in never-seen-before numbers.

An animal protection and control centre in the capital is seeing as many as 10 animals abandoned each day this summer, a surge from about a year ago when there were almost none.

Katty Quintas, director of the Animal and Environment Protection Foundation (Funasissi), said pet owners are abandoning cats and dogs "not because they don't want them” but “because now the problem is how to feed them."

Pet owners say the price of dog food has more than doubled in recent months to 2 US dollars a pound - more than a day's pay for those earning the minimum wage.

Zoo animals have also suffered from the nationwide food shortages, when in July it was reported that 50 residents of a large Caracas zoo had died.

In response to stories highlighting the plight of Venezuela’s animals, Ernesto Paiva, the Minister of Eco-socialism and Water, claimed that the country's opposition was to blame, saying they were creating idea "that Venezuela is a country where even the animals are starving and that is completely not true."

A lion sleeping inside its cage at Caricuao Zoo in Caracas. Zoo staffarereportedly feeding the animals with mangoes and pumpkin to make up for the lack of meat

Large protests continue to take place against the government of President Maduro, who was captured on video being chased by a group of angry protesters banging pots.

Additional reporting by AP

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