Ever since she was little, animal cruelty has always been one of her main concerns. However, what Nuria Kerol, 47 years old, never expected that at some point work with the FBI to make animal cruelty a federal crime in the United States. It all started with the decision to cross the ocean in order to stay on American territory, in particular, in the state of Virginia. “I trained in criminology, criminal profiling and the study of serial homicide investigation from one of the most important criminal profilers,” he tells EL ESPAÑOL.
For her, the opportunity to be on the grounds of the CIA headquarters at Langley or the FBI academy at Quantico was a great inspiration. “Who told me years later that I would meet with so many FBI agents that they would teach me and cooperate with them on so many issues?” Add. However, despite his useful stay, his own intuition and his parents’ desire to return to Spain to complete his medical degree led him back to Barcelona. “I came back, I got my degree, I started to practice, but I still had the error.”
For this reason, although he continued his investigative work and was part of the Barcelona University crime profiling team, he continued to travel regularly to the United States due to his interest in the animal cruelty team: The NSA, or more commonly known as the National Sheriffs Association. It was in 2014, in Phoenix, when at a meeting he met John Thompson the CEO of the organization and the one who helped me get started with the team.
“For logical reasons they do not invite anyone to the committees where they discuss security issues. This is obvious because things can be filtered. However, I was lucky that he invited me to take part in these meetings,” says Nuria. The main reason for the invitation is that Thompson himself I knew Nuria’s career and he appreciated the fact that the Catalan knew and respected his work.
“Especially in the United States, where they may feel condemned or questioned He saw that I didn’t have those prejudices.” Add. Since then, Nuria has been another member of the National Sheriffs Association Animal Cruelty Committee meetings, where she claims to have lived the most important moments of her professional career.
[Estas son las principales novedades de la Ley de Derechos Animales]
He remembers one in particular with particular fondness. It happened in January 2015 during the winter meeting of the organization. In that case, then-FBI Director James Comey was part of this and announced a milestone that would mark before and after about cruelty to animals in the country. “He talked about three topics: immigration, terrorism and animal cruelty. And it didn’t say anything. It was amazing,” he says.
From now on, the FBI will change the classification of cases of cruelty to animals. going to consider them a crime against society. “We had to keep our composure, everything is very professional, but inside we were all in high spirits. We have been through a lot, it was very beautiful.”
However, this is not the only milestone that Nuria can be proud of for having contributed to his establishment. Another major reform she witnessed was A “Farm Bill” that would revolutionize the treatment of victims of domestic violence with pets.
“We have worked hard on the issue of including animals in protection orders, because women, when they entered the foster family, if the animals were not allowed, they did not enter. We had women sleeping in cars or on the street, at much greater risk to them,” he explains. Since then, thanks to this new set of measures, solutions to such problems have begun to be found.
USA under magnifying glass
Despite advances in animal welfare in the United States, Nuria believes there is still a long way to go on American soil. Policies like ‘Friends’, used in some public shelters such as Utahwere a breakthrough for animal rights activists.
“They are models of unusual and very cool shelters,” Nuria says. However, the fight against the privileges of hunters is one of the main tasks of animal protection groups, in particular combating the obsession with treating the carcasses of some species as trophies.
“There were problems at Yellowstone in Wyoming as well. You meet people who walk into supermarkets with a gun they carry in the back of their pants. They carry it in the most ordinary way. These are some of the mentalities in those states that should be changed a little, ”explains Nuria. In fact, he claims, there were specimens that, due to their age or characteristics, left Yellowstone, and the hunters killed them. “It’s a desperate mentality” a complaint.
Spain as a great landmark
Recently, the Council of Ministers approved in the second round new Animal Welfare Act. An achievement which Nuria explains is a great achievement. In fact, Spain is a pioneer in animal welfare compared to other countries in the world. “This is the only country that has a program to help victims of gender-based violence by adopting their pets. Victims can stay with foster families until they recover and then return to their animals,” he says.
It’s about the program VioPet, an initiative approved in March 2020 that is working with the Ministry of Equality to create a network of safe spaces for these animals. “While it is true that there is room for improvement in Spain and Europe, it is better compared to the US. In some ways, Spain is ahead.”
However, despite the fact that Spain can be considered a pioneer in the protection of animal rights, Nuria firmly believes that a step forward needs to be taken, especially with regard to the wording of the Criminal Code. “The wording says that veterinary treatment is required to consider this animal cruelty. Animals can be mistreated without harming them. Abuse may occur, but not necessarily when injuries are present or when they are not visible. Sometimes there are wounds or injuries that are not visible externally, for example, with an internal hematoma. It makes things very difficult.”
Meanwhile, Nuria will continue to combine her work as doctor, teacher and researcher The Criminal Behavior Profiling and Analysis Unit of the University of Barcelona, in cooperation with the National Sheriffs Association and the FBI. His purpose? Take animal rights to the top.