Target: Rubén Saavedra, Defense Minister for Bolivian Military
Goal: Criminally charge military instructor who slaughtered a live dog to desensitize trainees
Up until 2009, Bolivian military instructors regularly slaughtered live dogs during training exercises. Meant to “toughen up” and desensitize new cadets, this brutal practice finally became outlawed after tireless protests by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Recently, however, an instructor barbarically killed another dog, earning only a four-day suspension following the criminal act.
The New York Times reports the instructor “gutted a 2-year-old mixed breed dog” and “smeared its blood on students’ faces.” He ruthlessly butchered a helpless animal, and in doing so, he also brazenly violated Bolivian law. The ban, or “Resolution 217,” purports to enforce punishments for such violations. Nonetheless, the instructor has only been temporarily suspended, which is an insultingly insufficient penalty. Suspension is typically reserved for minor acts of insubordination, such as mouthing off to a superior officer. This soldier cut open and bled out an innocent creature. Perhaps the scariest part of this story is the idea that he will be allowed to return to the academy. One can’t help but wonder if the Bolivian military only enacted this law to appease protestors while secretly continuing to kill dogs.
There’s a reason butchering live animals desensitizes people: It is inherently cruel and traumatic. If the Bolivian military wants to harden its soldiers, it should use virtual simulations or old war footage to do so. Slaughtering dogs is both illegal and wildly unnecessary. In addition, instructors should earn more than a “slap on the wrist” for violating the ban. Sign the following petition to demand justice for this innocent animal that was brutally killed for the sake of “instruction.”
Dear Minister of Defense Rubén Saavedra,
In 2009, you approved Resolution 217, which prohibits the abuse or mistreatment of animals in military training exercises. Nevertheless, a military instructor recently slaughtered a two-year-old dog for the sake of instruction. Though Resolution 217 assures punishment for violations of this ban, the instructor has only earned a four-day suspension. This punishment is not only inadequate, it is profoundly unjust.
The “penalty” you have issued sends a clear message that you do not take your ban on animal abuse seriously. More importantly, it conveys that you value a soldier’s training more than the life of an innocent creature. A temporary suspension is not a punishment; it is a slap on the wrist that is commonly enforced for minor acts of misconduct. Employing such a measure in this instance is grossly disproportionate to the crime, and ultimately displays a lack of empathy on the Bolivian military’s part.
This instructor violated official regulation and he should be penalized accordingly. Not only has he senselessly killed an animal, he has directly disobeyed an order. Please seek true justice for the crimes that have been committed, and bring the soldier before a court to answer for his barbaric actions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kristin Miranda