Angie Vega (2023)
Mexico is a North American country that borders the United States in the North and Belize and Guatemala to the South. Mexico s a megadiverse country. It has a wide variety of animals and plants, which include many unique and endangered species. In addition, it has diverse ecosystems, ranging from forests and wetlands to deserts and coral reefs.
Mexico has a federal presidential representative democratic republic system with a federal government. It has 31 individual state governments and a Federal District. The government is divided into the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Mexico's President is the nation's head of state and government and oversees the executive branch. Congress is in charge of the legislative power and is made up of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Like the federal judiciary in the United States, the Mexican Federal Judiciary operates on a three-tiered system.
The judicial power is vested in the following:
- The Supreme Court of Justice has final appellate jurisdiction over state and federal courts.
- The circuit courts are federal appellate courts.
- The district courts and jury courts.
When it comes to animals within the legal system, Mexico categorizes animals as property as the vast majority of countries. The civil code categorizes pets and companion animals as movable objects. Mexico does not have anti-cruelty laws at the federal level. However, most states (29 out of 31 states as of April 2023) have either enacted anti-cruelty statutes or modified their criminal code to incorporate animal cruelty as a crime.
II. Animals in the Constitution
The political Constitution of Mexico is the Supreme law of the land on which all the federal and state law is based. The Constitution does not mention animals. However, Article 4 establishes that all men and women have the right to a healthy environment to guarantee their health and well-being. This Article further states that whoever damages or deteriorates the environment will be liable under current legal provisions. Even though this provision does not explicitly protect animals through this right, future litigation could argue that animals and wild animals, more specifically, should be protected in order to guarantee this fundamental right to the citizens of this country.
III. Animals in the Civil Code
Similar to most civil codes based on Roman law, the Civil Code of Mexico classifies animals as property. Specifically, Article 752 states that movable objects are by their nature or by legal disposition. Article 753 defines movable objects by nature as those bodies that can move from one place to another, either by themselves or by an external force. Animals are included in this classification, and the subsequent chapters talk about the appropriation of animals (arts 774-784, 854-874, 886-889).
IV. Other laws protecting animals
There are four primary federal laws regarding the treatment of animals: The General Law of Wildlife (2000), the Federal Law of Animal Health (2007), the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (1988), and the Official Norm 033, 2014 regarding the humane slaughter of domestic and wild animals. The purpose of these laws is to avoid unnecessary animal pain and suffering resulting from the use of animals by humans.
Norma Oficial Mexicana Nom-033-Zoo-1995, Sacrificio Humanitario de los Animales Domesticos y Silvestres. The law for the Humane Killing of Domestic and Wild Animals regulates the humane slaughter or anesthesia of farm, domestic, and wildlife animals. It contains detailed guidelines about methods allowed depending on the species and how to handle animals prior to slaughter or euthanasia procedures. For instance, this law mandates that all farm animals and wild animals slaughtered for human consumption are stunned, while companion animals must be sedated before euthanasia. It also contains provisions on emergency killing protocols for all species. Some prohibited methods include the use of substances that induce muscular paralysis without causing loss of consciousness and that cause death by suffocation, and the use of potassium chloride in any form to cause the death of animals since its administration causes severe pain and anxiety, followed by diastolic cardiac arrest in the conscious individual. However, its use is allowed on mega vertebrates, as long as the animal is under anesthesia and a veterinarian verifies this. Inducing hypothermia or using electricity for stunning, anesthesia, killing, and euthanasia of all reptiles is also prohibited. In addition, it is prohibited to kill rodents, lagomorphs, and small mammals by hypothermia and/or freezing, chest compression, strangulation, drowning, or other mechanical suffocation methods. Finally, it is prohibited to use trapping methods to kill wildlife.
La Ley General de Vida Silvestre (2000). The purpose of this law is to preserve wildlife through its protection and sustainable use. Article 4 establishes the duty to protect wildlife and prohibits any act that causes its destruction, damage, or disturbance to the detriment of the interests of the Nation. This article also states that owners or legitimate holders of land where wildlife lives have rights of sustainable use over the species, parts, and their derivatives.
Under this law, wildlife is defined as organisms that subsist and are subject to processes of natural evolution and that develop freely in their habitat, including their minor populations and individuals that are under the control of humans and wild populations as well.
The Federal Attorney's Office for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) is the administrative authority overseeing environmental law compliance. Art 107 establishes that anyone can file a report with them for any damages caused to wildlife or its habitat.
The 2008 reform to this law prohibited the use of wild animals in circuses.
Ley General de Equilibrio Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente (LGEEPA). This law focuses on the sustainable use of the environment and wildlife and the preservation and restoration of the ecosystems. It seeks to protect the national biodiversity and establish and manage protected areas. It establishes that to protect and sustainably use the flora and fauna, it is important, among other things, to encourage dignified and respectful treatment of animals to avoid cruelty against them. Moreover, it establishes that it is the duty of the federal government, the states, and the municipalities within their respective power to regulate the dignified and respectful treatment of animals (arts 78-79). The regulation of this treatment must be based on the following principles:
- Provide animals with enough water and food in order to keep them healthy and healthy.
- Provide animals with an adequate environment for their rest, movement, and space according to the species.
- Provide animals with adequate veterinary care and, in case of illness, provide prompt veterinary treatment.
- Allow animals to express their natural behavior.
- Provide animals with adequate treatment and conditions to guarantee their well-being.
The Federal Law of Animal Health (2007). This law establishes the foundation for diagnosing, preventing, controlling, and eradicating zoonotic diseases. It defines animal welfare and outlines best practices related to livestock, among other things. This law defines animal welfare as the set of activities aimed at providing animals comfort, tranquility, protection, and safety during rearing, maintenance, exploitation, transport, and slaughter.