This website has often highlighted the fact that animal welfare is a global issue, and that effective actions aimed at improving the conditions in which animals live – and in some cases die – are constantly being undertaken almost everywhere in the world.


Rhinoceros in zoo - Nairobi, Kenya, 2013

Rhinoceros in zoo - Nairobi, Kenya, 2013

Certainly, cooperation between NGOs, businesses and governments of various countries has gradually increased, and every step forward on animal welfare is now more important than ever as an inspiration to others to take positive action.


One important step in the direction of greater respect for animals was made on 28 February 2017, when the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala approved the new Animal Welfare Law (Decree 5-2017).


As the Congress’s own website emphasises, among other things the new law punishes the mistreatment of animals and gives them special protection. At the same time, it urges various ministries to take the necessary measures to prevent, eradicate and punish violence against animals.


The full text of Decree 5-2017 should soon appear on the Congress website. In the meantime, as the Humane Society International website reports, among its main provisions the law introduces protections for wildlife, animals used in research and companion animals. It bans animal testing for cosmetics and the use of animals in circuses and dog fighting, including the participation of spectators in this cruel activity. It also establishes an official government platform to address animal welfare issues.


As often happens, this legislative act does not cover all forms of animal use and abuse (e.g. farm animals are not included), but it does constitute a great leap forward for animal welfare in the region. As Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, there is reason to hope that more good news will follow soon.



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