As part of the first criminal trial for animal abuse in the history of Mexico, on 23rd August 2022, in the central Mexican state of Querétaro, a man was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for the brutal killings of two dogs. Athos and Tango were rescue and emotional support dogs that were part of an emergency team of the Mexican Red Cross (USAR). Judge Alicia Basuto Garcia sentenced Benjamín “N” to 10 years and six months in prison, and a fine of 2,300,000 pesos ($115,000), for killing the dogs with poisoned sausages on 13th June 2021. A puppy of Athos also was seriously harmed but survived.

Mónica Huerta, the lawyer who led the prosecution, told the newspaper Reforma “According to the judge, it is an irreparable loss, even for international society, due to the work carried out by Athos and Tango as part of the Red Cross”.

Edgar Muñoz, the guardian of the dogs who lived with them in his home in Santiago de Querétaro, said during the trial that “The man went out and left the sausages lying and prepared (…) He used a combination of poisons to ensure that they died faster“. The convicted animal abuser had already threatened Muñoz because he disliked the presence of the dogs on the street that they shared as neighbours.

In Querétaro, at least five criminal animal welfare complaints have been filed, so now that the case of Athos and Tango has set a precedent for the State Attorney General’s Office, it would be easier to prosecute other animal abusers. This case is a reminder that animal protection legislation and prosecutions of animal abusers are yet to be implemented properly in many countries. Considering this, it is not surprising that animal exploitation continues to be the norm in the world, while veganism, despite growing, continues to be a small social movement. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.