nags and nippers in nicaragua

If there are children like Luchín , left with only mud and worms to eat

Why don’t we open all their cages? So that like little birds they can fly away – free!

Free with the little ragball, with his friend the cat and his friend the dog

And with the old horse too

Victor Jara

Two of the most distressing sights in Managua are the street children scrabbling to survive, and the working horses, seemingly driven till they drop. Now a new organisation in Nicaragua, Nags and Nippers, has been set up, to tackle cruelty to children and cruelty to animals.

“Why are they bothering with animals” some people might ask. Isn’t this another example of concern for animal welfare being put above concerns for humans? More and more evidence now exists making the links between individuals who abuse animals, and then go on to abuse children or carry out acts of domestic violence (see here for a report into UK research). There is also a considerable amount of research to show the therapeutic benefits of working and caring for animals.

Hopefully Nags and Nippers will benefit both the children and animals in the project. In the long term, it might help break the cycle of cruelty for those who take part, and also ensure that when the children turn into adults, they will continue to care for animals, in a society which depends on animal traction.

Nags and Nippers has been set up by Paul Baker Hernandez of the Echoes of Silence cultural project. Paul is no stranger to Wales. He has visited the country on  numerous occasions, has accompanied several Welsh delegations in Nicaragua, and has performed in the El Sueno Existe festival in Machynlleth.

If you wish to donate to Nags and Nippers you can do so here. Campaign member David McKnight has also posted his latest film, for Nags and Nippers, with a haunting soundtrack from Victor Jara.



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