Lopez Obrador announces constitutional reform initiative to recognize animal rights
Mexico City, Jun 19 (EFE).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, on Monday announced that he will propose a bill for a constitutional reform to recognize the rights of animals and declare them to be sentient beings.
“Yes, we’re in agreement, we must continue the process in Congress to approve in the Senate the legal reform and, yes, we’re going to present a bill for the reform of Article 4 (of the Constitution),” the president said in response to a question by an activist during his morning press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City.
Although the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, in March approved a reform to protect the rights of animals, its approval has stalled in the Senate, and now debate and discussion on the proposed legislation must wait until the start of the next legislative session in September.
In this regard, AMLO promised to put forward his own initiative to modify Article 4, which – among other things – guarantees the right to a healthy environment, to healthcare, to housing and culture.
“I can assure you, we’re going to wait until the new (congressional) session, but we’re already starting to work” on it, he said.
The fight to declare animals to be sentient beings has picked up steam in recent years, with governments in Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Oaxaca and Durango having already included this declaration in their local legislation.
Estimates are that in Mexico seven of every 10 domestic animals suffer some type of mistreatment, with more than 70 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats living out on the street, according to figures compiled by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Also to be included in the reform of Article 4 that Lopez Obrador will put forward will be to establish a universal retirement pension for adults over age 65 and universal economic support for people with disabilities.
“And this (also) involves the humane, respectful treatment of animals, with the reform of Article 4 of the Constitution,” the president said.