Sunday, October 31, 2010

Drama In The Barrio Oct 2010

Culture Clash

Today's post will have no pictures.
No video.  No graphic description.

It's just too sad.

One of my neighbors, a family around the corner from me,
has a small rag-tag band of horses.

Every morning the chico (young man) rides one and leads the others
the 3 short blocks to their milpa (corn field)
where the horses can munch the dry grasses and corn husks.

And every evening he does the same in reverse to secure
them overnight close to the house.

Bringing up the rear, and a block or 2 behind,
is a young colt of about 6 months.
He cannot keep up.  He hobbles on 3 legs.
His right front leg is broken.

He shrieks for his mother who is a member of the band
the young man is trotting off with and she shrieks back.

I cannot stand to watch it and flee behind my walls,
plugging my ears, when I hear them approach.

Once, I shouted to the chico as they passed. . .
¡Oye, joven, que necesita veterinario!
(Hey, young man, you need the vet!)
He said. . .Ehhhhhhhh. . .without pausing.
(Colloquial affirmative response.)
I said. . .¡Está sufriendo!
(It's suffering!)

Ok, what can be the problem, I thought.
Must be the family doesn't have enough money
to pay the vet to put the colt down.
No problem!  I'll offer to pay.  How much could it cost?
I would then be the 'go to' gringa for everyone's
pathetic dying pet or livestock.
Bad idea.

So, I asked around the neighborhood for a solution.
Pobrecito (poor thing), my neighbors all cried.
Maybe I'll take up a collection and hire the vet anonymously.
That might work.
While chewing on that idea,
and not wanting to waste time,
I asked around a little more for the right way to handle this.

I stopped at Guillermo's carneceria in the mercado,
and told him the sad story.
Guillermo said he knew the family and would stop
and have a chat with them asap.
Don't worry, Guillermo said, I'm an animal lover too,
I'll take care of it!

I returned to Guillermo's carneceria and asked
what he found out.

Did you have a chat with the family with the little colt?
Si.  I told them they needed to put the horse down.
What did they say?
They said it's not big enough yet.


  1. I would volunteer to twist a bone or two for the owners leg....and let it heal without a cast for a few years, properly aligning it every two or three weeks....
    This is one of the things that saddens me, the lack of respect to animals.

  2. I like your style, Tancho. I thought about a couple of guys with baseball bats. . .

  3. I often hear that Mexico is 50 years behind us in animal concerns. I disagree. When I was growing up around animals in southern Oregon, I never saw this type of abuse -- and I see similar things at least once a month around Melaque. This is not cultural. It is simply wrong.

  4. It takes a good deal of patience to keep calm watching the many animal abuses here in Mexico. The harsh treatment by what otherwise seem rational people remains a mystery.

  5. Steve and Calypso - Totally agree they are a good 50 years behind other cultures in animal rights and empathy for animals.
    But Calypso, the answer to the mystery might be that the church teaches them that animals do not have a soul! Therefore they are lesser beings and not worthy of respect and compassion.
    In the many years I've been coming to this country, I have seen attitudes change a little for the better. Only a little tho.

  6. Mexicans simply do not care about animals very much. They are bodyguards (roof dogs) or cash crops. They do not looove their animals the way so many Americans do. There are exceptions, but they are a tiny minority of the population.

    To Steve, I say: It is cultural and it is wrong. Pain is pain.

    I often think of this kind of stuff when I hear Gringos gush about how they love the Mexican culture sooooo much.

    Living here often is not for the faint of heart.

  7. I would qualify your last statement, Felipe. REALLY living here is not for the faint of heart. Those many Ajijic gringos that live in their gated communities, never eat a taco, and drive through their (and all the other) neighborhoods with their windows rolled up and without establishing any eye contact with a single Mexican person. . .well, they don't live in Mexico.
    I think like you do when I hear them gush about the culture too. The Mexican culture can be brutal.
    Course, you'd have to notice, I guess.
    Thanks for the comment!

  8. Are they waiting for it to fatten up a bit so there is more meat from it? We've eaten horse steak in every country except here and the US. Just curious.