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Advocating for animal welfare in Puerto Rico

Diploma Programme (DP) student Carolina Jiménez is working on amending animal welfare regulations in Puerto Rico in hopes of improving health and safety for both animals and residents.

Advocating for animal welfare in Peurto Rico

An estimated 250,000 stray animals roam the streets of Puerto Rico. IB Diploma Programme (DP) student Carolina Jiménez felt that animal protection laws needed to be changed to keep the public safe and better safeguard the animals. So, she made a proposal to the Senate of Puerto Rico, which is still in the works, for her creativity, activity, service (CAS) project.

“Sadly, the issue stems from the culture of buying pure-breed animals, as well as natural disasters, which have left many to flee the territory”, says Carolina, from Robinson School in Puerto Rico.

She has proposed fines for animal breeding, easier animal adoption and an idea to reduce the cost of sterilization to help prevent the reproduction of stray animals.

Carolina explains: “The Senate has a programme for minors, which allows us to come up with solutions to problems in the territory. I approached a representative from the metropolitan area with my idea and references from the Netherlands project”.

A comprehensive sterilization project in the Netherlands helped eliminate the number of stray dogs. Now the majority of pets owned by commonwealth residents are adopted. The government also put forward regulations to promote animal welfare. The Netherlands Animal Control—which monitors pet crimes and animal rescue—encourages citizens to contact them if they see a street stray. It will rescue the animal immediately and send it to a no-kill shelter.

Through her CAS project, Carolina learned that we all have to make a change in our community. She demonstrated that she is caring, reflective, inquirer, balanced, and a risk-taker. “The opportunities are there. We just have to take them,” she says. “The instability in Puerto Rican has deterred the project multiple times, but my insistence through emails has worked”.

While Carolina waits on a response from the Senate, she says she will continue to push this proposal into a hearing, and for it to be passed. “We have opportunities to change the world and I just took mine”, adds Carolina. “If this can help at least one dog or cat, I’ll be happy”.

This article is part of a series of stories from IB World magazine that bring to life the wonderful initiatives undertaken by IB students and educators from around the globe. Follow these stories on TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram and feel free to email us your story.

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