Guatemalan Congress approves animal welfare legislation

Humane Society International welcomes bans on dog fighting, cosmetic animal testing, animals in circuses and other vital new animal protection measures

Humane Society International

  • The new law creates protections for wildlife, animals used in research and companion animals. Mehmet Salih Guler/istock

In a landmark decision, the Guatemalan Congress voted to approve legislation that will improve the lives of animals throughout the country. It is the first time the legislative body presented this kind of bill, submitted by Humane Society International and its local partners in 2016.

Cynthia Dent, global field manager for HSI/Latin America, who consulted with the local stakeholders during the drafting process, stated: “This vote by the Guatemalan Congress not only marks an unequivocal victory for animals, but also ratifies the country´s commitment to animal welfare. We will continue to consult and work closely with the Guatemalan authorities to ensure a seamless implementation of the new law and to guarantee its observance.”

The original draft legislation was the result of joint initiative involving the University of San Carlos, HSI/Latin America, the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Counsel of Protected Areas, ARCAS. In addition,, local animal protection organizations like Sillas de Ruedas para tu Mascota GT, Asociación de Amigos de los Animales, Mascotas Terapeutas and Corey Quan offered their input during drafting process. Dr. Carlos Alvarado, rector of the University of San Carlos, presented the legislation to the President of the Congress Mario Taracena during a formal event attended by activists and lawmakers last year.

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Among its main provisions, the law creates protections for wildlife, animals used in research and companion animals; bans animal testing for cosmetics; the use of animals in circuses; dog fighting, including participation of spectators in this cruel activity; and establishes an official government platform to address animal welfare. HSI is expanding into the country to work with the Guatemalan government to help implement the new law.

The following lawmakers participated in the legislation:

Diputado Álvaro Enrique Arzú Escobar: Partido Unionista (UN)
Diputado Erick Lainfiesta Cáceres: Partido Encuentro por Guatemala (EG)
Diputado Gabriel Heredia Castro: Partido Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza (UNE)
Diputado José Conrado García: Partido Libertad Democrática Renovada (LIDER)
Diputado Juan Manuel Giordano: Partido Frente de Convergencia Nacional (FCN)

Media contact: Raul Arce-Contreras,, +1 301-721-6440

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