Animal abuse exists across the Caribbean

| 04/03/2024 | 10 Comments

Annan Boodram writes: A few Barbadian animal welfare organisations recently renewed their call for the government to enforce animal abuse legislation. And asserting that they are not satisfied that animal abuse is being taken as a serious crime in Barbados, one of the group is seeking judicial review of a case in which a 28-year-old man was earlier this year given probation after admitting to animal cruelty which led to his dog’s death.

The Be Their Voice organisation insisted that it wants to ensure someone in Barbados is fully penalised for animal injustice instead of getting a slap on the wrist. Members of the group, with the support of representatives from Action for Animals Barbados, The Horse Charity and Ocean Acres Animal Sanctuary, made the plea for animal abuse to be taken more seriously.

This failure to enforce animal abuse laws is one that characterises every Caribbean nation, and thus the call by the Barbadian organisations is one that resonates across the Caribbean. It’s almost as if Caribbean people do not see animals as living things, as capable as humans of feeling pain and hurt. And the politicians and law enforcement agencies treat the laws as words on paper and little else.

Incidentally, no Caribbean nation is listed on the Voiceless Animal Cruelty Index, a project of Voiceless, an animal protection organisation based in Australia, and a team of animal welfare advocates from around the world. Voiceless does indicate that it’s “hard to find comprehensive information on the legality of animal cruelty throughout the world”, which would be the case with respect to the Caribbean.

As well, where they exist, laws do not seem to be stringent enough or comprehensive and advanced. For example, Jamaica’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1904 was last updated in 1995. The maximum fine for breaching the Act is $1,000. St Kitts & Nevis Animal Act was adopted in 1935, Dominica’s Pound Act in 1958; Grenada’s Animal Act was consolidated in 1990, Jamaica’s in 1997, Guyana’s in 1998.

In Trinidad & Tobago, “if you unlawfully and maliciously kill an animal, then the maximum penalty is a fine of $1,000 or three months’ imprisonment”. While Anguilla has animal cruelty laws, there are no local government funds to support animal control or animal welfare.

The French Caribbean has no animal cruelty laws, nor do the Netherlands Antilles, which occupy the third place on the world list of countries where animal abuse is common.  

Across the Caribbean, animals are routinely neglected and abused, oftentimes abandoned, and treated like disposables, especially when sick or old.

However, acknowledgement and kudos must be given to many animal angels across the Caribbean, individuals and NOGs, who give of their time, resources, compassion, passionate care and efforts to change the culture of wanton animal cruelty and abuse and to rescue abused and abandoned animals and care for them. 

Among these numerous persons and entities are the various national societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals that operate with shoestring budgets and the willing support of medical personnel and volunteers.

Animal abuse leads to aggressive and antisocial behaviour. It is also a reliable predictor of violence against people. Researchers have connected children’s abuse of animals to bullying, aggression, school shootings and sexual abuse. Yet the fact remains that when we learn to care for our animals, we become more compassionate, less violent people, and those traits eventually characterise our communities and society.

Annan Boodram
The Caribbean Voice (

Share your vote!

How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , ,

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (10)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Radio Rich says:

    If I was in charge I would chain up all those bad owners and leave them out in the searing heat. That’s all they deserve, lowest of the low.

  2. Anonymous says:

    yep caribbean in many ways is backward hellhole…populated by poorly educated morons.
    for cayman…all you have to look at the turtle farm and read any independent report into it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alternatively, you can read the myriad of reports showing the benefits of the Turtle Farm in regards to the conservation and re-emergence of the sea turtles in the region. You probably won’t though, since it doesn’t fit your agenda. Confirmation bias is a hell of a thing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It breaks my heart to see dogs either tied to a tree or left in kennels in the backyard all day without ever being walked. Even though they are fed and watered, and their owners give them the odd pat on the head, this is a horrible life for a dog. The dogs bark and bark when their owners get home but receive almost no attention apart from being fed. Although the constant barking is extremely annoying for us as neighbours, I can’t blame the dog!

    Please – walk your dog (on a leash) every day! It’s good for the dog, and your health!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Animals in the Sister Islands are routinely mistreated. It’s just a fact of life living here. I hate seeing it, and feel helpless to make a difference for the animals.

    Listen, you don’t want to take care of a dog or a cat, don’t get them. Don’t acquire a cute little puppy and then starve them and let them roam around for their food when they are no longer cute. Breaks my heart.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ve made several reports to DOA and each time I followed up they claimed to have no report at all in their system. I followed up atleast 5 times and each time I got the worst attitude from DOA staff. If they can’t even log a formal report how we expect them to do anything about the serious cases of abuse that occur on this island???? Another inefficient government department.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Only across the Caribbean?

    • Anonymous says:

      Fundamentalist religious cultures and poor economies are very domination-oriented over women, minorities, and animals.

      • Anonymous says:

        Let’s not forget the elderly. Stick them in a home or expect government to care for them when their children are quite capable themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t point at everyone else. I have seen the way that animals are treated in other countries and Cayman and the Caribbean it’s rare to find anyone that treats their animals like a sentient being.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.