New article on animal welfare in Romanian Constitution

Some months ago, the Romanian organisation FNPA (National Federation for Animal Protection) started campaigning for the introduction into the Romanian Constitution of an article regarding animal protection. Their proposal was:

“since animals are sentient beings who perceive physical and mental suffering, State and citizens have to ensure the right to life of animals, respect for animals and their dignity, and take the necessary measures to protect them.”

Poisoned dogs, Romania (Photo: FNPA)

Poisoned dogs, Romania (Photo: FNPA)

FNPA presented comprehensive materials in support of the proposal, including examples of countries whose Constitutions or penal codes contain provisions regarding the protection of animals.

The amendment was officially presented by Constitutional Forum, a body composed of NGOs, citizens and universities, and the only one that could take part in the Constitution Review Commission. This amendment generated a long debate, especially over the part referring to the “right to life of animals”, which aroused fears that with the adoption of the text all slaughterhouses would have to be closed! Therefore the amendment was rejected, after which a new formulation was proposed. This proposal was discussed on 11 June and unanimously approved, with the following wording:

“Mistreatment of animals, defined according to the law, is forbidden”

The Romanian Constitution is the fundamental law of the Romanian state and establishes the general principles of the State, and the rights and duties of citizens and public authorities. No other law can violate any provision of the Constitution, and all laws must be adapted accordingly. Thanks to this article, Romanian animals have a constitutional right not to be mistreated!

FNPA considers this a huge step forward, which will help in the necessary review and interpretation of laws regarding not only pet animals but also animals in laboratories, farms, zoos and circuses.

Romania is one of the few countries with a reference to animal welfare in its Constitution.

If you can read Romanian, you can find further information on the FNPA website.