Guatemala passes animal welfare law


Guatemala has passed a new animal protection law, hailed as one of the most comprehensive in the world.

Until now, the country had very limited protections for animals, nominally banning certain forms of cruelty, but failing to penalize people who committed them. On February twenty-eighth, Guatemala’s Congress approved legislation establishing fines for animal abuse, as well as prohibiting many specific forms of cruelty and exploitation. The law bans testing cosmetics on animals, the use of animals in circuses, cockfighting, and dogfighting. It establishes protections for wild animals, animals in research, and companion animals. And it seeks to humanely reduce the number of stray dogs in Guatemala, promoting spay and neuter programs, banning poison and other lethal methods of population control, and making it a crime to abandon pets.

The legislation was drafted by Humane Society International, local Guatemalan animal groups, government ministries, and the University of San Carlos. Says Cynthia Dent of HSI,

“This vote by the Guatemalan Congress not only marks an unequivocal victory for animals, but also ratifies the country’s commitment to animal welfare. We will continue to consult and work closely with the Guatemalan authorities to ensure a seamless implementation of the new law and to guarantee its observance.”

(Featured image credit Andy Baxley, CC BY 2.0)

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ANIMAL PEOPLE is an animal rights charitable organization dedicated to the principle that animals’ lives have intrinsic value apart from human interests. We believe there is an urgent need to cultivate human compassion for the other creatures with whom we share the earth. To that end, ANIMAL PEOPLE seeks to further animal advocacy by providing a global forum in which people who care about animals can speak and be heard. Click to see author's profile.

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