San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Toucan tragedy

President Solís urges lawmakers to pass animal cruelty bill following 'barbarous' attacks

The savage beating of a toucan has revived the urgency for lawmakers to pass an animal cruelty bill, said President Luis Guillermo Solís on Tuesday during a weekly press conference at Casa Presidencial.

Solís said that several recent cases of animal abuse were “barbarous” and “savage.” The case of a toucan that lost more than 50 percent of its beak when a group of teenagers hit it with a stick caught international attention last week and galvanized an online campaign to raise funds for the injured avian.

“I want to take this opportunity to call on the different political fractions to come together on an agreement on the terms of this bill so that we have the tools to punish this kind of behavior that is clearly unacceptable,” the president said.

Solís presented the Animal Welfare Bill, 18,298, to lawmakers during an extraordinary legislative session that started on Dec. 1, 2014. But the bill has yet to reach the floor for a vote. The bill would increase fines and would authorize prison sentences between one and six years for the intentional harming, torture or killing of an animal or making a spectacle of the former.

The injured toucan was a wild animal living in Grecia that was kept as a kind of pet by locals in Grecia who would feed it, said Hugo Alonso, a spokesman for the Zoo Ave Animal Rescue Center, where the bird is recuperating. Because the bird was familiar with people it did not initially fly away when a gang of children hit it with a stick. Alonso said that the bird would not regrow the beak.

An Indiegogo campaign raised $6,459 to fund a prosthetic beak for the bird at press time, reaching its $5,000 goal in less than 48 hours using the hashtag #savethetoucan on social media.

Said Solís: “These acts go against the respectful and peaceful society that characterizes Costa Rica.”

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Giselle Kuchirka

One of the best things we can do to end the objectification of animals, is to stop calling them “it”.
They are not things, or objects, they are living beings.

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Nicole Werner Landers

The funding campaign is still going on and has expanded to help other exotic animals. After reading that Costa Rica has no law against the abuse of animals, I am reconsidering visiting this country. I had thought that this was a progressive country with a caring attitude towards animals, both domestic and wild. How could this important piece of legislation be postponed? It should have been on the books decades ago!

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Susan Murrah

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Andre Dion

Je suis contre la cruauté Animale qui a dans votre Pays et je demande a votre Gouvernement de faire des Loi plus sévère contre les Bâtards qui maltraite tous sorte D’animaux sans défense !!!

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Sylvia Garcia

Absolutely sickening. If anything good comes out of this, it’ll be a public outpouring of support: the toucan is so representative of Costa Rica, and this atrocious act also speaks of the current lack of animal rights and protection as well as a lack of social consciousness among some people: poachers, those who support directly or indirectly enable and support poachers, uneducated people who don’t percieve the dignity of animals, people who entertain themselves at the cost of an animal–whether it be by holding them captive as pets or as in this case, hurting it probably because the adolescents thought it was funny or cool to inflict pain, and some individuals with a lack of environmentalawareness.

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Vicki Luskey

I was in Costa Rica for a couple years and I was so fortunate to see toucans in the wild and here their beautiful song. Up here in Canada I read the tico times on line. My god when I saw this article I was horrified. I read it an hour ago and I am sick to my stomach and still this minute I can’t stop crying. Its horrible what gutless humans do to animals. I am devastated. God help is all.

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Laurie Johnson

Sorry to have missed this campaign. This news makes me cry. The toucans are beautiful birds of Costa Rica. Children needed to be educated more, these birds are dependent on Costa Rica. As a future ex-bat to Costa Rica I don’t like cruelty to animals. These birds are magnificent species and very unique. Someday they probably won’t exist which is very sad. Although toucans are common to locals they are greatly treasure by tourists. Tourists bring the country a lot of revenue, which is very important to Costa Rica. Please keep the animals safe, cruelty to animals is not good. I work very hard to bring to your country tourists, which helps with the economy and also educations supplies for the children who need it most.

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Katja Taussig

This made me sick my stomach. I don’t care how old these teenagers are they should pay for this horrendous crime .

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