The plenary session of the Incumbent General Assembly for the Judiciary (CGPJ) will be held next Thursday. Animal Protection, Rights and Welfare Law reforming the Criminal Code to include, inter alia, the offense of animal abuse. The draft by progressive vocal Roser Bach challenges some aspects of the project that is currently in Congress and was prepared by the Department of Social Services. It also warns that the legislator’s intention to “harden” penalties for animal abuse “could endanger the principle of proportionality”.
Government gives the green light to Animal Rights Act that will toughen penalties for mistreatment
For example, the journal for members’ review warns that the norm imposes greater penalties for certain attacks on animals than for certain crimes against humans. Therefore, keep in mind that the penalty for animal abuse is between 9 and 18 months in prison if the author commits acts that would harm anyone who was or has been a partner of the author. It is a “higher” penalty than the penalty for minor threats, bodily harm that does not require medical treatment, or ill-treatment in the field of violence against women. The Penal Code punishes these behaviors with six to 12 months in prison.
The rapporteur’s draft also warns of “a particular violation of the principle of proportionality” in the comparison between animal abuse, which does not require veterinary treatment, and minor injury, which does not require medical treatment. The penalty in this case is the same: a fine of one to three months. However, in the first case, the possibility of an alternative labor penalty for the benefit of society from 31 days to 90 days, which determines that the species should be classified as a less serious offense and not as a minor offense, is provided for, as it were, injuries to humans without medical or surgical treatment.
According to the explanatory wording of the bill submitted by the government, it aims to end what it describes as “a widespread sense of impunity for animals, ineffective penalties for such acts and lacking deterrent effects” with harsher penalties. In this sense, the project shows that currently sentences are usually less than two years, so convicts do not go to prison as they can be suspended or changed.
However, the report’s proposal warns that the bill failed to achieve what it declared as the “first and fundamental” justification for reform, as prison sentences are imposed both in the case of injury and in the case of the animal’s death. , in both cases the fine continues alternately.
On the other hand, the draft contains an important amendment to the protected legal right that includes “all vertebrate animals” whether under human control or not. This option raises “significant problems” for reconciling animal protection with protection of other legal rights, such as public health or the environment, according to the text, which will be reviewed by the judges’ governing body.
“In more than one instance, the defense of these legal rights will conflict with the protection of the physical integrity and even life of the animal” and will always require an immediate response, which is not supported by law or other provisions, published before the reform, which justifies the behavior in question,” warns the newspaper.
The proposed report supports other aspects of the standard. For example, it positively values the involvement of legal entities in the commission of crimes against animal cruelty. The regulation of precautionary measures to protect animals, including temporary change of ownership for the care and welfare of animals, deserves the same consideration.
Although his tenure ended nearly four years ago, the CGPJ’s functions include preparing reports on bills and other provisions. Although the results of this report do not bind the Government, its approval is a mandatory procedure.
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