April 6, 2017
Animal advocates urge Mexican Senators to pass strong penalties for dogfighters
Animal advocates called on the Justice Committee of the Senate to urgently pass a bill to penalize dogfighting. The bill would reform the Federal Criminal Code to penalize individuals for organizing fights, owning or trading a fighting dog, possessing a property used to hold fights, or attending a fight as a spectator. Humane Society International/Mexico joined government officials, legislators, celebrities and animal advocates in calling for the bill’s urgent passage. In January of this year, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies passed a reform to the Ecological Equilibrium and Environment Protection General Law banning dogfighting and mandating the Federation and States to impose penalties on dogfighters within a one-year timeframe.
Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies passed the bill last December by a 291 to one vote. The Justice Committee is expected to issue a favorable opinion today, which would allow the bill to be put to a vote in plenary session.
Anton Aguilar, HSI/Mexico director, said: “We are calling on the Senate’s Justice Committee to move forward the criminalization of dogfighting today. Dogfights are terribly cruel, highly unpopular and harmful for our society. Dogfighters also have strong ties to organized crime. We’ve made great progress in the fight to end dogfighting in Mexico, but we are at the crucial moment where Senators need to act to effectively penalize this cruel activity nationwide.”
Actress Vanessa Bauche, who stars in the 2000 Mexican film “Amores Perros,” backed the call for urgent passing of the bill. The film, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, includes references to the brutal cruelty behind the dogfighting industry. Bauche said: “Dogfighters sometimes kill the losing dogs, and even winners may die from their wounds. Police often discover drugs, guns, and even murder in connection with dogfights. Mexico does not need more violence and organized crime.”
A recent Parametria poll shows that 99 percent of Mexicans oppose dogfights and 85 percent support strong penalties for those involved in the business. HSI has collected more than 200,000 signatures asking to penalize dogfighters at the federal level.
During the press conference, Mexico City authorities highlighted growing efforts at the local level to respond to reports of animal cruelty and dogfighting, including the rescue of dozens of dogs from a dogfighting case in February. Dignitaries attending the event include Congresswoman Ms. Verónica Delgadillo; Consejo Ciudadano’s president, Mr. Luis Wertman; and high-level officials from Mexico City Public Security and Attorney General.
If the Senate does not pass the reform to the Federal Criminal Code before the legislative period ends on April 25, the window of opportunity to pass the bill will almost certainly close.
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