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Threats, assaults and murder attempts, the risky life of the veterinarian: "If you close the slaughterhouse for me, I'll kill you"


These professionals now have the same police protocol as doctors and nurses after the sentences that show mistreatment both in the field and in the clinics

The dog suffered a complicated delivery and the Ecuadorian veterinarian Diomeres Sánchez, based in Palma, had to carry out a delicate operation.

It happened in January 2021. A few days later, the animal's owner returned to the clinic angrily because some wounds were not healing well.

Threatened to kill him and his family, shook him and slapped him.

"I tried to get away, I even ran to take refuge in a pharmacy," he recounts on the other end of the phone.

Sánchez went to court, which agreed with him and sentenced the man to a fine.

It was the second assault that he suffered, the first occurred in 2010 and required hospital care.

He is not the only veterinarian who has suffered a violent episode of this type.

Concern among these professionals has grown so much that the Collegiate Veterinary Organization (OCV) agreed with the police last year to include these professionals in the existing police protocol since 2017 for attacks on health workers, which only included doctors, nurses and auxiliaries.

"It is a phenomenon that comes from afar, but perhaps it has had a greater echo in recent years," says Luis Alberto Calvo Sáez, president of (OCV).

The turning point in the minds of almost all members of the sector is the attack suffered by a colleague from the Pozoblanco Regional Agrarian Office (Córdoba) in 2016 who reported having been pushed down some stairs and receiving a terrible beating that included a punch In the ear.

The attackers were two cattle-breeding brothers whose farm was under threat of closure due to the inspection for which the attacked worker was responsible.

The prosecution requested 22 years in prison for the defendants for attempted murder, a request seconded by the prosecutor at first.

They ended up sentenced to three years in prison.

Rural veterinarians and dependents of public administrations, who are responsible for sanitary inspections of slaughterhouses and livestock farms, turn out to be the most affected by this violence, according to twenty sentences that EL PAÍS has compiled.

The economic gains of rural entrepreneurs depend on the evaluation they make and that opinion is sometimes not digested well.

"Risks in rural areas are normally more difficult to prevent due to the special conditions and lack of means that tend to occur more frequently in that environment," Calvo acknowledges.

One of these rulings reflects the tension experienced in a town in Soria a few years ago.

At the end of an inspection of a farm, the veterinarian reported several irregularities regarding the current regulations on slaughter.


the rancher snapped: "You don't know who you're messing with, no one likes you, you don't know what I'm capable of."

The man who released this was convicted of a crime of threats and disobedience to authority.

As the highest representative of veterinarians points out, the problem comes from afar.

A 2012 opinion states that while a professional was carrying out his work as a public health inspector for the Junta de Castilla y León, a businessman released him: "If you close the slaughterhouse for me, I'll kill you", after which he detained him for half an hour in a of the rooms of his facilities and came to attack him and take away the cell phone with which the health worker was trying to call the Civil Guard.

For these facts he was sentenced to one year and three months in prison.

The examples follow one another and usually have the same pattern.

Another ruling includes the clash in a farm in Albacete in which after declaring three cattle as unfit for human consumption, the farmer approached the health professional with a knife in his hand and told him bluntly:

"Cooler vets than you have lasted less time here, take care of yourself and your car."

Another worker at a farm in Soria yelled at another complainant: "I'll give you


here someday, but not here, on the street.

No one plays with my children's bread!"

The list goes on.

In 2020, a veterinarian from a town in Burgos was threatened by a rancher who told her that she had one year left to live and was taking her ahead of her.

The defendant was fined for a misdemeanor.

In all these cases, justice sided with those physically or verbally assaulted.

Diomeres Sánchez, on the right, during a laparoscopy on a pig at his clinic in Mallorca.

Some of the sentences recognize the health authority of veterinarians and therefore opt for the crime of disobedience, while others apply the crime of injury or threats.

Several professional associations, such as Madrid or Seville, have made legal services and free advice available to their members on two fronts: harassment and


reputation and physical aggression.

Carlos Ouro was a victim of the first.

In her clinic in the Pilar neighborhood, north of Madrid, while the dog


waits patiently next to her owner to go to the consultation to receive her vaccines and, inside a spacious cage, the cockatoo


He looks at everyone who came in, the doctor goes up the stairs from the operating room and recalls one of the most tense moments of his working life.

Almost four years ago, he suffered a smear campaign on networks by a woman who claimed that her guinea pig had died in her clinic.

In the message, she accused the health professional of being a "butcher" and a "murderer" and of having killed his "princess".

The vet tried to reach a friendly understanding by explaining that he had never seen the guinea pig, to later ask him to withdraw the comment because it was greatly harming the clinic that he had set up with so much effort in 2014. "He told me that until I knew who had killed her, I was going to pay for it," he says.

So she went directly to report.

Psychological problems difficult to assess

The judge ruled that the woman was guilty of a minor crime of threats and had to compensate the clinic with 600 euros.

“She deleted the message, but the damage was done because there were so many aftershocks,” she laments.

“You cannot imagine the tension that this type of thing causes.

Spain has the largest number of veterinary schools, but in the clinics we have problems finding employees, why do you think that happens?

I understand that we have another member of the family in our hands and the emotional part is very strong, but that does not justify the threats and attacks ”, defends the health worker.

This same week, he assures him, he just had a problem with another owner of an animal who has yelled at the staff several times and Ouro has given the order that the police be notified at the slightest departure from everything.

"In these cases,

the nervousness of the citizen increases and aggressions arise more easily.

Often, these reprehensible behaviors lead to psychological problems that are difficult to assess”, seconded the president of the Collegiate Veterinary Organization.

Many of the veterinarians ask for an official record of these attacks to quantify and make visible the dimension of the problem, but it still does not exist.

In the absence of statistics, the Cádiz college carried out an


survey among its members in which a small but representative sample participated, and which concluded that 75% of the professionals had ever suffered an assault.

The list of insults that appear reflected in court rulings is as diverse as it is surprising.

"Stay at home scrubbing and retire from the vet", they sent a message to a professional from Zaragoza.

“You are going to find out, I am going to sink you in social networks”, threatened a user who considered that they had not taken good care of his dog,


in 2017 in Cantabria.

"I'm going to screw up the store," a woman snapped at an owner of a clinic in Madrid in 2016. A veterinarian from Chiclana de la Frontera took a woman to court who called her in December 2020 accusing her of the death of several cats.

"You don't know who I am, son of a bitch, you're going to find out."

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-01-22

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