The case of the “Buffalo de Brotas”, one of the biggest episodes of mistreatment to animals ever occurred in Brazil, began to have a more positive outcome last Thursday (20). The non-governmental organization (NGO) Amor e Respeito Animal (ARA) won in court the definitive custody of the herd with more than a thousand heads. Since the beginning of this story, members of the institution and volunteer professionals have taken turns on an arduous journey to treat and recover these animals. And to ensure that there are conditions, including infrastructure and finance, to maintain this work.
The case came to light on November 6 of last year, when the Environmental Police of the State of São Paulo, after an anonymous tip, inspected the São Luiz da Água Sumida Farm, located in the municipality of Brotas (SP), and found 335 buffaloes and 332 calves in precarious rearing conditions, hungry and thirsty. A ditch with 22 dead animals was also discovered.
On the 24th of that month, they identified another 385 buffaloes and 72 horses in a situation of abandonment, in addition to 14 carcasses that, according to the lieutenant of the 5th Battalion of the Environmental Police, José Augusto Bravo, were animals that did not die of natural causes. “It is a situation of negligence on the part of the owner. And willful, as he is aware of it,” he said. “Even for us who work with it, it is moving.” The infractions up to that point resulted in fines of more than R$ 3.5 million for the owner of the farm, Luiz Augusto Pinheiro de Souza, who was arrested and is a fugitive.
According to the lawyer representing ARA, Antília Reis, there was a succession of acts of cruelty. “There were around 700 animals trapped in an area of the farm where they fed on tree bark. Worse, they were about 300 meters from a water source without being able to access it, some died of thirst listening to the sound of the water,” she said. For the lawyer, these buffaloes will have irreversible sequelae, and even the calves that started to be born in January – many females were pregnant – can grow up with problems. As Environmental Police Lieutenant José Augusto Bravo said, “this occurrence serves as a warning”.
It is for this and many other reasons that the team responsible for the “Buffalo de Brotas” celebrated so much the conquest of the definitive guard of the herd. Part of this celebration is on the group’s Instagram profile (@búfalas_de_brotas), as well as the day to day on the farm and the data for those who want and can contribute.
Agribusiness representatives support the cause. Cattle ranchers and agricultural companies in the region donated supplies for the care of the animals; the Secretary of Agriculture and Supply of the State of São Paulo has provided technical assistance for the care of the herd and can help ARA in the reconstitution of the farm’s pastures; the Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of the State of São Paulo (Faesp) released a statement condemning the crime of mistreatment and emphasizing that this has nothing to do with agricultural production. This is a good way for the agro to intensify its communication with society in general: more than showing how much it complies with the rules, it is important to stick to which side it is when something goes wrong on its land.
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