File photo

A farmer friend of mine, whose name I will keep to myself, was rather confused and astonished by an article published in the newspaper Granma on 21 October of this year, which mentioned the notable decline in the livestock herds in our fields (22,980 head as of the end of August this year) due to theft and the illegal slaughter of animals. He sent me the following verse:

Neither fat, nor skinny, nor crazy.

If you look under your bed,

you’ll find a lost cow.

It’s neither skinny nor fat,

nor running crazy.

Seek it on your patio,

or maybe in the kitchen.

In the belly of your children,

or that of your beloved wife.

There is where it should be,

since they took it away.

You raised it and cared for it

and it’s kept by the State!

Granma also noted that lack of control is the common factor. They say that the lack of personnel to check the herds in distant provinces favors disorder since there are already a number of ranchers that operate freely.

Wouldn’t it be better, as the farmer who sent me his poem said, if we first meet the necessity of bringing this food, which until 1959 was a staple of our diet, to each family’s house? According to CENCOP (Center for livestock control), there are not enough officials to check the more than 26,000 landless livestock owners. From this group comes the increased number of animals loose on the streets or grazing on improper land, exposed to accidents or provoking them, as if inviting crime.

Translated by: M. Ouellette

November 17 2011