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Animal Right's

In: Social Issues

Submitted By mcc09
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“… Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being?...” (Bentham, 1780)
In Mexico there are no federal laws that regulates de liability of the owners of an animal, punishes abuse or protects the integrity of domestic animals, all that has been created so far are measures in the penal code of different states that aren’t very useful due to the unnecessary complexity in the structure of the law that result in judges not understanding them, forgetting their existence of the law or simply decide to ignore them. That’s why the government should decree laws at federal level that protect animals against mistreatment, grant them safety, dignity and a rightful treatment.
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), there are 3 million dogs in Estado de Mexico; 1 dog per 5 people. The terrifying data comes from the Adoption Center and Animal Rescue AC: there’s an estimate that 7 out of 10 dogs are victims of abuse and neglect. When they talk about abuse and neglect it does not only relate to dogs on the street, it is also consider those with home.
Every year a million pets (dogs and cats) suffer from mistreatment. Statistics from an animal protection organization called Milagros Caninos located in Mexico City shows that a hundred percent of the dogs they’ve given shelter to, suffered from mistreat, torture, rape and vexation.
In the last decades, sociocultural factors have increased the interest at correcting this unnecessary harm to animals; citizen initiatives (partnerships and animal shelters, collecting signatures, demonstrations) and academic (preparation of briefings, discussions, articles and bibliographies) had been created towards helping the protection of animal life.
In Mexico the mistreatment of dogs is one of the cruelest practices that are being common nowadays. There are people who look for street dogs to torture, burn, mutilate or kill. For every six Mexicans there is a dog in street situation therefore, there are 15 million of these animals in street situation that can be potential victims of mistreatment.
It’s also very common to find dogs in roofs or chained to posts without any trace of food or water. Even this animals with homes are tortured by their own “family members” if not abandoning them, forgetting to take care of them in proper ways.
Animal guarantees such as the right to life and no longer be considered as inferior or as a mean to an end (Kantian Theory), are commonly violated in Mexico. The increase in social violence, lack of information and education are factors that help animal abuse raise their numbers, and there are still no federal laws that protect them and their integrity in a serious way.
Even though a human life is thought to be more important than an animal life, they are still in need of people creating conscience of them being living beings that feel. Animals have Direct Moral Status, that mean they are capable of being sentient. Being sentient refers to “the capacity to experience episodes of positively or negatively valence awareness.” An argument that a being, be it animal or human has a Direct Moral Status goes as follows:
. If a being is sentient then it has direct moral status.
. (Most) animals are sentient
. Therefore (most) animals have direct moral status.
Due to this Direct Moral Status animals even if they don’t reach the same intellectual level as humans or don’t have the ability to be rational or morally active they have the capability of feeling pain just the same as humans do, that ‘s one of the reasons why they should be protected against being abused.
“Moral equality theories extend equal consideration and moral status to animals by refuting the supposed moral relevance of the aforementioned special properties of human beings. Arguing by analogy, moral equality theories often extend the concept of rights to animals on the grounds that they have similar physiological and mental capacities as infants or disabled human beings.“ (Singer, 1989)
Adhering to this theory, animals should be considered as beings worthy of respect and dignity and have a right to protection against mistreatment just like disabled humans or infants do.
The cases that have been successful in terms of animal protection have not been precisely for the sake of animal protection itself. These situations where animals have been “successfully protected” have had more to do because of damage to private property or an offense to another person using an animal as a weapon.
Othon Sánchez Brigada, an animal surveillance guard of the city’s SSP, commented on prosecutions that took place regarding animal abuse, one was that of a person who threw acid at a neighbor's dog, the charge wasn’t because the harm that was done to the dog, but for damage to property of others. Likewise, an individual was apprehended in Coyoacan, this individual was abusing a Doberman (which was of his property), beating the dog and using it as a weapon of assault, again, the charge was not for the harm to the animal but for armed robbery.
There are new existing laws that “protect” animals such as a law constituted in the Penal Code of Mexico City that declares: “anyone who perform acts of abuse or cruelty to any animal species, causing visible injuries, without endangering the animal's life, will be imposed from six months to two years in prison and 50 to 100 days fine. If injuries threaten the life of an animal, penalties are increased by half the penalties prescribed. Also, those who commit acts of abuse or cruelty to any animal causing death, will be imposed for two to four years in prison and 200 to 400 days' fine.”
An individual that has a right to something must be able to claim that thing for himself, where this entails being able to represent himself in his pursuit of the thing as a being that is legitimately pursuing the furtherance of his interests (McCloskey, 1979).
According to this, since animals are not capable of representing themselves in this way, they cannot have rights. Lacking rights does not entail lacking direct moral status, which means although animals may have no rights, we may still have duties to them.
Regan (American philosopher who specializes in Animal Rights Theory) argues for his case by relying on the concept of inherent value. According to Regan, “… any being that is a subject-of-a-life is a being that has inherent value. A being that has inherent value is a being towards which we must show respect; in order to show respect to such a being, we cannot use it merely as a means to our ends. Instead, each such being must be treated as an end in itself.”
The Federal Legislature, in accordance with the powers conferred by the Constitution and both the Senate and the House of Representatives, makes federal laws. These laws govern matters of national interest and are applied to all states of the Mexican Republic. Federal laws are those that must be applied to all people in the country, federal authorities, including PGR, which duty is to apply what the Federal Penal Code and the Code of Federal Criminal Procedure signal.
While each state has laws that consider animal abuse as a crime, penalties applied (if applied) don’t make people create further conscious about the matter. People don’t take those penalties and fines as something serious, the proof is that since the new law for animal protection was implemented to the Penalty Code here in Mexico City, the number of incidents where animals are mistreated hadn’t been reduced.
If the number of animal victims in the Mexico City hasn’t reduced what can be expected from the other parts of the country? These laws apparently started protecting animals but in a way where the aggressor can only pay a fine or stay in prison for a minimal amount of time and then go out and commit that crime again without creating any moral conscience or reflection about the crime they committed.
Serious punishments like going to jail for a considerable time have an impact on society, people will start to notice this problem the most when punishments get bigger and are evenly to every individual in the country.
The Federal Government should realize that this issue is the same no matter how many laws at state level are issued. The only way to put citizens into account of what can happen if the physical or moral aspect of an animal is damaged is when the government starts taking this issue seriously, when the government recognizes that domestic animals just for the sake of being sentient deserve respect and a rightful treatment.
Having many laws at state level won’t be as effective as decreeing a federal law where animals are recognized as beings with inherent value. A federal law will provide animals with a security that no Mexican citizen will harm them and remain unpunished, since the character of federal law is mandatory and if this law is not followed the punishment will be graver.

Bentham, Jeremy. (1780). Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Recuperado de
Calderón Alberto. (2012). Reflexiones En Torno A Una Ética Animal. Recuperado de:
Descartes, René (2000): Discurso del Método. Meditaciones Metafísicas, Espasa, Madrid (Prólogo de Manuel García Morente y post scriptum de Agapito Maestre).
Grupo Formula. (2013). Ley de Protección Animal DF a la vanguardia: PVEM. Recuperado de Grupo de Información En Reproducción Elegida: GIRE. (2013). Leyes Federales y Leyes Generales. Recuperado de
Monroy Paulona. (2009). Contralínea Periodísmo de Investigación: Crueldad contra animales, en aumento. Recuperado de
Martín Sara. (2012). Blanco Revista de Bioética y Derecho p. 59-72. Recuperado de:
Santoyo Rebeca. (2013). Veo Verde: 7 de cada 10 perros víctimas de abandono y maltrato en Estado de México. Recuperado de
Scott D. Wilson. (2013). Animals and Ethics (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosphy.). Recuperado de:
Singer Peter. (1989). In TOM REGAN & PETER SINGER (eds.), Animal Rights and Human Obligations, New Jersey, 1989, pp. 148-162. Recuperado de:
Regan, Tom. The Case for Animal Rights (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1983).

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