The town council in Trigueros del Valle, a small town of 330 residents in Spain, has issued a ground-breaking ruling. It unanimously voted to essentially give the same rights to dogs and cats that human residents have. By defining them as “non-human residents,” the politicians gave them the same rights as men and woman can exercise. The small town’s forward-looking socialist mayor stated the following, according to The Independent.
“Dogs and cats have been living among us for over a 1,000 years….And the mayor must represent not just the human residents but must also be here for the others.”
Animal advocates and lovers praise the ruling. After all, animal lovers often consider their canine or feline companions literally as part of the family. But the law often sees animals as mere property. The legislation seems to have been passed because of the concern with the inhumane treatment of animals in bullfighting. But it will apply to all animals. The new law prohibits “any action that causes the mutilation or death of a non-human resident,” according to the Examiner.
Of course, bullfighting has been considered by some to be a sport, whereas others see it as a barbaric practice that leads to the torture or even death of the animal. Some areas in Spain, such as Catalonia, have banned the practice. However, the central government of Madrid may eventually declare it part of Spain’s national heritage, thereby making it immune to governmental bans.
Rescate 1, a group that campaigns for animal rights, cheered the new law as a victory for animal rights, as a coming-together of humans and nonhumans alike. In the United States, a judge in May made the groundbreaking ruling that four chimpanzees used for animal research could no longer be treated as property and, instead, needed to be regarded legally as persons. Some other countries have also given nonhumans their own rights. In India, for example, whales and dolphins are given nonhuman status and cannot legally be used for entertainment purposes in water park shows.
The law in Spain fails to address what would happen if a dog or cat needs to be euthanized for compassionate reasons so that they don’t suffer. The law is so new, there are no precedents yet.
What do you think about a ruling giving dogs and cats rights similar to people have? Please leave your comments below.
At the other end of the spectrum is the recent approval in Britain for a new puppy farm to produce beagles solely for animal testing. These animals have no rights and are treated as mere property. And animal rights activists are up in arms that the live beagle dogs will be used in testing. Yorkshire Evergreen, which is part of the United States group Marshall BioResources, owns the facility and also breeds genetically-modified mice. The facility will open in Grimston, near Hull, and will conduct vivisection as well as drug testing experiments, according to an article in the Inquisitr.
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