San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Strong bill protecting animals from human cruelty passes Costa Rican legislative commission

The Environmental Commission of Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly on Thursday approved the drafting of a bill aimed at punishing those who mistreat animals.

The initiative would amend various articles of both the country’s Penal Code and the Animal Welfare Law, establishing penalties of up to three years in prison for anyone who mistreats or causes the death of animals with or without a justified cause. The bill also would punish those promoting or conducting fights of any species, or those who subject animals to excessive work.

It calls for prison sentences for people who fail to provide proper care for animals, and prohibits breeding, hybridization and training aimed at making animals more aggressive.

Citizen Action Party lawmaker Claudio Monge, one of the bill’s promoters, said he is satisfied with the new piece of legislation, as “it provides appropriate regulation to prevent cruelty and abuse against all animals.”

The bill will go to discussion before an approval by the full Legislative Assembly.

Earlier this week, officials of the Carara National Park denounced the killing of a deer and her fawn on a farm next to the park.

Last August, more than 12,000 Tico animal lovers and their pets marched down the capital’s Second Avenue to demand approval of this legislation.

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