Guatemala launches Animal Welfare Unit to help implement animal welfare law

Humane Society International and the agriculture ministry to work closely on Unit’s rollout, will provide training and workshops for officials

Humane Society International

  • Guatemala now has a strong law for the protection of animals. Grettel Delgadillo/HSI

Humane Society International has praised the launch of the Animal Welfare Unit in Guatemala responsible for implementing the nation’s landmark Animal Welfare and Protection Law and associated regulations, which went into effect in September 2017. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food will house the Unit.

Guatemala’s animal protection law, passed earlier this year, prohibits dogfighting, the use of animals in circuses, the use of animals for experimentation and research in the cosmetic industry, and the cutting of animals’ ears and tails for aesthetics. It also creates criminal penalties for those who cause injury, suffering or criminal death to an animal.

HSI has supported the law since its inception and continues to provide institutional cooperation and technical advice to the Animal Welfare Unit. Cynthia Dent, global field manager for HSI, expressed her satisfaction at the culmination of this project, which took more than two years of work in conjunction with Guatemalan authorities, educational institutions and various organizations.

“We are encouraged by the overwhelming positive response to animal welfare in Guatemala’s Congress. This demonstrates that awareness of the importance of animal welfare continues to grow and that it knows no political differences. Both Guatemalan civil society and government can count on the support of Humane Society International in their efforts to ensure more humane treatment for animals in the country.”

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Agriculture, Livestock and Food Minister Mario Méndez Montenegro said, “It pleases me to know that Guatemala has one of the best laws for the protection of animals, and I am even happier that it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food to ensure its implementation.”

As part of the launch event, representatives from Guatemala’s police departments, ministries, municipalities, Congress and other governmental and non-governmental groups attended a workshop about the animal welfare law, its regulations and sanctions. Experts with Humane Society International led a workshop on animal cruelty and dogfighting.

Among the Unit’s tasks include:

  • Determining the rules to regulate animal-related establishments, associations, shelters and people who work with animals;
  • Generating public awareness of animal issues;
  • Preparing the procedure manuals for the implementation of the country’s animal welfare law;
  • Generating canine and feline sterilization guidelines; and
  • Training government authorities and sectors involved in the implementation of the law.

Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras,

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