Lawyers for the International Union for the Protection of Animals (UIPA) are hoping that charges will be sought against an officer of the Brazilian Federal Highway Police for breaking animal protection laws when he shot and killed a bull on a highway road in the country last week. The questionable incident and shocking photograph above have propelled the story throughout South American news sources--leading some to wonder if the officer's actions were justified.
It all began with an accident between a motorcycle and a truck carrying bulls on a highway outside of Belo Horizonte, northwest of Rio de Janeiro. Many bulls were released onto the road after the incident, according to a report from Globo.
When police arrived to the scene, they soon found the "situation with the roaming cattle had became uncontrollable," and opted to use their firearms on at least one unlucky bull. A spokesman for the Federal Highway Police claims the use of lethal force was justified, believing that "the animals loose on the road would cause more accidents."
Prior to opening fire, the officer received permission to shoot from the owner of the livestock.
UIPA's lawyer, Vanice Orlandi, believes the officer's killing of the animal was unjustified, reiterating the non-lethal options available for removing the bulls from the highway. "He had other means to prevent accidents. He could of stopped traffic and called the Center for Animal Control, which is also able to rescue goats, horses and cattle," said Orlandi.
It was a lack of preparation, a total lack of sensitivity and respect for animals, because the police had other means to clear the roadway. This animal was slaughtered in cold blood, so cruel. There is a law that guarantees a quick death to an animal whose elimination is necessary, but not how the police know to do. The animal was a victim twice. What's more cruel? Transport, which requires the animal to travel for weeks? He ended up dead under those conditions.
Livestock in the roadway is the fifth leading cause of vehicle accidents in Brazil, and even surpasses the number of alcohol related incidents. Still, according to the report, there is no training or a specific determination on how cattle should be cleared from the roadway, and that police should try to remove the animals as quickly as possible to prevent major accidents. But could that really mean shooting them in the face with a pistol?