In 2022, Decreto No. 160 modified the Criminal Code by adding Title XX, “Of the Crimes Committed Against Animals.” It has only one title: “Crimes Against the Life, Integrity, and Dignity of Animals,” which comprises articles 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 441, and 442.
Article 435 considers acts of mistreatment and animal cruelty:
- Unjustifiably causing the death of an animal;
- Killing an animal using methods other than those established in official Mexican standards or depriving an animal of life using any means that causes excessive or unnecessary suffering or prolongs its agony;
- Any mutilation, injury, or permanent mark for non-medical purposes;
- Inflicting injuries that endanger the life of an animal, that generate permanent partial or total disability, that reduce any of its faculties, or that affect the normal functioning of an organ or member;
- Causing the ingestion or application of any toxic substance or object that endangers the life of an animal or causes its death;
- Depriving an animal of air, light, food, water, space, mobility, medical care, or adequate shelter appropriate to its species, with the purpose of causing harm;
- Abandoning an animal or neglecting it for prolonged periods that compromise its well-being or
- Inciting animals to attack each other or being neglectful when the animals’ aggressiveness or physical power could potentially result in harm or death.
Under this modification, animal cruelty is punishable with imprisonment from six months to five years. If the injuries inflicted on the animal put the animal’s life at risk, the punishment will be increased by half.
If the animal dies due to the cruel behavior, the penalty will be imprisonment from two to four years. If the methods utilized caused excessive or unnecessary suffering or prologue the animal’s agony, the punishment will be increased by half.
Sexual conduct with vertebrate animals is punishable with jail time ranging from six months to two years. Dog fighting is also proscribed as a criminal offense.
Lastly, under Article 497, certain exemptions apply, such as the death of an animal resulting from cultural activities, the death or mutilation of an animal considered a pest, the justified death or mutilation of an animal under the care and supervision of a specialist, marking or shoeing of vertebrate animals for the purpose of distinguishing livestock, and the slaughter of animals for human consumption in accordance with Norm NOM-033-SAG/ZOO-2014.