Wednesday 6 February 2013

Cockfights to remain legal in Mexico City

When it's for show it's not cruel

The attorney general’s office for Mexico City (PGJDF) has stated categorically that laws protecting animals from cruelty do not apply to bullfights, circus acts, or even cock fights, as these all fall under the rubric of “shows”.

This comes after the big news that, as a result of changes in the law, people found guilty of cruelty to animals could potentially face jail time.

“Anyone can file a complaint, of course,” said Rodolfo Ríos Garza, who heads the PGJDF in the Federal District. “But in the case of bullfighting and cockfighting it’s very clear that they weren’t included in the reforms to Mexico City’s penal code.”

However, he acknowledged that there is also a law for the protection of cruelty to animals, and that the two must somehow be “unified” while acknowledging the inherent legality of such shows.

“The law for the protection of animals wasn’t changed, only the penal code,” said Ríos Garza, implying that if such shows were not considered cruel before, then they would still be deemed acceptable.

Specifically, Article 25 of the law for the protection of animals – which is an administrative (i.e. civil) law, not criminal – states that bullfighting and cockfighting are specifically excluded, though there can be exceptions when considering “other applicable laws and regulations”.

In the case of any animal show, including rodeos and dog shows, citizens can make complaints before civil courts.

Ríos Garza acknowledged that amendments to the Criminal Code allowed for penalties including imprisonment for those who mistreat or cause the death to any domestic or wild animal, but asserted that the exception for shows would prevail.

The treatment of animals has been in the news of late in Mexico. First, there was the story of a local politician's lion on the loose in Veracruz; then, a tiger killed its trainer during a show in Sonora.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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