A majority consisting of 46 lawmakers approved Bill #18,625 or the “Animal Welfare Bill,” in the first round of debate late last week. The initiative sets harsher punishments, including prison time, for abusing or killing an animal.
Lawmakers from all parties have held lengthy negotiations in recent weeks to agree on the terms for the approval of the bill. Most of these conversations focused on agreeing on wording that would satisfy both animal rights’ groups and the farmers and other sectors that have opposed the initiative for years.
The approved legislation exempts from sanctions all those productive activities such as farming, fishing or aquaculture; zootechnical or veterinary activities, or any other action conducted with sanitary or reproductive purposes, or for hygiene controls. It also exempts euthanasia, research, or actions taken to protect crops, productive lands, public health or veterinary health.