A Havana market sold meat as mutton. But the buyer thinks it was something else

The bones of the animal sold as mutton in a Havana market are in refrigeration waiting for a government exam.
The bones of the animal sold as mutton in a Havana market are in refrigeration waiting for a government exam. Courtesy

An animal rights group in Cuba has received a report that dog meat was sold at a Havana market

Valia Rodríguez, a manager of a Facebook page for animal rights in Cuba, reported Monday that dog meat was allegedly on sale at a market in Havana.

Rodríguez said the complaint was received by the Facebook page for the group Cuba contra el maltrato animal — Cuba against animal abuse. She is one of the managers of the page.

The woman who sent in the complaint said that she accompanied her parents, aged 74 and 75, to a market on Via Blanca and Cuatro Caminos on May 24 to buy some mutton but were “defrauded.” She asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisals from the market vendors, according to the Facebook page.

“We were supposedly sold a small mutton, but we learned that it was a dog after we cooked and ate it at home. That’s when we realized that the bones did not look like the bones of that kind of animal,” the woman reported to the Facebook group.

The taste of the meat also was not the same as mutton, but they thought they had used different spices, she added. But then they searched the Internet for images of dog bones “and it turned out that the femur from our dinner was the same,” she wrote.

Rodríguez said the complainant kept the bones and filed a request with the Public Health Ministry to confirm the identity of the animal and punish the vendors.

“This is the second person who writes to us to complain about something similar,” Rodríguez said in a telephone interview with el Nuevo Herald.

The activist noted that Cuba has no laws against animal abuse and added that the sale of alleged dog meat is a health issue, not just an issue of mistreatment. “It’s true that in other countries they eat dogs, but they are raised for that. Cuba does not have the sanitary mechanisms to make sure that meat is in good condition. Besides, the animals are killed without any pity,” she said.

Complaints about the sale of meat from dogs, cats and other domestic pets were common in Cuba during the early 1990s, when the end of Soviet subsidies plunged the island into its worst economic crisis in history.

Shortages of food and other basic goods are again sharpening in recent months because of the crisis in Venezuela, Cuba’s main benefactor, and the government trade debt of more than $1.5 billion.

The animal rights group also recently denounced a resident of the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba who was photographed by passersby as he skinned a cat. The man reportedly killed the cat to eat it.