90.000-strong petition calls for criminalisation of cruelty to ALL animals

Petition to be presented in parliament on Wednesday

Animal lovers who marched in such numbers in Lisbon in January have raised a petition with over 90,000 signatures, defending the criminalisation of cruelty/ abuse of ALL animals (not just those that fall into the bracket of household pets).

A statement from União Zoófila today refers to petitions needing a minimum of 7,500 signatures to be discussed in parliament. Therefore it is “sure” this one “will be discussed very soon (…) leading to the presentation of draft laws on these matters”.

The ‘crisis’ in animal protection came after the Constitutional Court ruled, on three separate occasions, that current legislation is unconstitutional.

At the time of the Lisbon protest, President Marcelo lent his support to the cause, saying animal welfare should be “duly legislated”, recalling that the parliament could do so either “through ordinary legislation” or through the constitutional review process that is currently underway.

UZ’s hope is for both options. In today’s statement, the entity that raised its 90,000 signatures in just one month appeals to the Constitutional Court to “promote an ethical and up-to-date interpretation of our fundamental law, therein including the protection of animals”.

It also calls for parliament “to extend criminal protection to sentient animals, not only companion animals, to improve existing rules and to include the express reference to animals in the text of the Constitution”.

And it is clear from the text of the petition that animal lovers want no further time wasting. Say reports: “The petition’s subscribers declare themselves unconformable with the inertia of the constituted powers (…) Anyone who mistreats must be punished”.

Wednesday’s delivery of UZ’s petition will be accompanied by a manifesto, signed by “more than 40 prominent personalities in the areas of law in Portugal, and more than 50 associations and movements, asking for the maintenance of criminal protection that covers companion animals, ensuring the effective construction of a free, fair and caring society, including for animals”.

Data sent to Lusa by the PSP and GNR at the end of January show that the police arrested 17 people for the abandonment or mistreatment of pet animals since legislation (now deemed unconstitutional) came into effect, and recorded almost 10,000 crimes.

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Portugal Resident