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Advocating for Change: A Campaign to Criminalize Animal Cruelty in Chiapas, Mexico

Animal Equality has launched a new campaign urging Congress in the Mexican state of Chiapas to modify its Penal Code and criminalize acts of animal abuse. This initiative follows Animal Equality’s investigation showing the extreme abuse of horses slaughtered for their meat in Chiapas, where animal abuse is not yet considered a crime.
May 18, 2023 Updated: January 29, 2024
Horse being stunned in Chiapas slaughterhouse Horse being stunned in Chiapas slaughterhouse

The issue of animal cruelty in Chiapas, Mexico, has long been a concern for Animal Equality. In recent years, the situation has become more urgent due to the rise in cases of animal abuse, particularly against horses as documented by undercover investigators.

Urgent Need for Legal Protection: Addressing Animal Cruelty in Chiapas, Mexico

As an organization dedicated to the protection of animals, Animal Equality has been closely monitoring the situation in Chiapas, Mexico. Last year, our investigators recorded evidence of animal cruelty at a horse slaughterhouse in the state.

As shown by the footage:

  • Animals that are ill or malnourished are often unable to move and subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, such as being beaten with sticks or hung with chains to suffocate them while still conscious.
  • Horses are frequently subjected to electric shock or sprayed in the face with pressurized water hoses by workers in an attempt to force them to move.
  • Inexperienced workers and a lack of veterinarian supervision often lead to horses being ineffectively stunned prior to slaughter. As a result, some horses are shot in the head multiple times before being effectively stunned with the captive bolt stunning method.
  • Following the stunning process, Animal Equality investigators discovered that slaughter was frequently delayed beyond the 30-second requirement mandated by the Mexican Official Standard. As a result of these delays, horses were often killed while still conscious.

The images shocked the public, who joined the campaign to call for the end to the slaughter of American horses. Over 105,000 supporters have already signed the petition demanding the United States Government take action by stopping the transport and slaughter of horses from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico. 

Animal Equality took action by presenting the findings to the Mexican authorities. However, we were disappointed to learn that we could not pursue legal action against the animal abusers because Chiapas has not yet criminalized animal cruelty in the state’s Penal Code.

The Initiative

Chiapas is currently the only state in Mexico that doesn’t consider acts of cruelty towards animals as a crime. This means animals are not protected by law, and legal action cannot be pursued by local law enforcement or animal welfare organizations to bring perpetrators to justice.

Horse being stunned in Chiapas slaughterhouse

In light of this, we are launching a new campaign to modify Chiapas’ Penal Code and make animal cruelty a crime. By advocating for this change, we hope to send a strong message that animal cruelty is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Chiapas or anywhere else.

This initiative seeks to penalize anyone who causes malicious injury or death to an animal by:

  • Causing death by any means that prolongs the agony or causes suffering.
  • Slaughtering animals raised for food using methods different from those established in the official Mexican standards and, if applicable, the specific standards of the State or Municipality.
  • Any mutilation, alteration to the physical integrity, or negative modification of its natural instincts is not carried out under justified cause and under the care of a specialist or authorized person with technical knowledge.
  • Torturing or mistreating an animal for any purpose.
  • Not provide veterinary medical care when required or determined by animal welfare conditions.
  • Whoever performs acts of zoophilia.
  • Any deprivation of air, light, food, water, space, shelter from the elements, medical care, and adequate housing, according to its species, that causes or may cause harm to an animal.
  • Abandoning animals on public roads, vehicles, or buildings for prolonged periods without food, water, and shelter.
  • Participate, organize, or advertise, in any form, animal fights.
  • The penalty for committing any of these acts will be two to four years in prison and a fine of fifty to three hundred days, in addition the person is obliged to repair the damage; which, where appropriate, must include veterinary medical care, medications, treatments or required surgical intervention, until the animal fully recovers.

People who are responsible for animal abuse or cruelty will lose all rights over the animals they have had in their custody or protection.

If approved, more than 100 million cows, pigs, chickens, and other farmed animals in Chiapas will be protected by law.

Rescued hen held by Animal Equality volunteer

LIVE KINDLY

With rich emotional lives and unbreakable family bonds, farmed animals deserve to be protected.

You can build a kinder world by replacing animal food products with plant‑based ones.

Animal cruelty is not considered a criminal offense in Chiapas, making this initiative all the more crucial, especially after our investigation carried out by Animal Equality into the slaughter of horses in Chiapas uncovered appalling acts of abuse. The proposed modification to the Penal Code represents a significant step underscoring the urgent need for legal protections for animals in the state and the important of criminalizing such cruelty.

Dulce Ramírez, Vice President of Latin America and Executive Director for Animal Equality Mexico

The initiative is supported by Deputy Rocío Guadalupe Cervantes Cancino, a member of the Parliamentary Group of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico and is scheduled to be voted on in December 2023.

Horse hung with chains to suffocate while still conscious in Chiapas slaughterhouse

What Are the Steps?

Animal Equality has undertaken an effective approach to ensure that the proposal to criminalize animal cruelty in Chiapas, Mexico is given careful thought by Congress. After Animal Equality urges legislators to take our proposal into account, it will then be discussed and voted upon in the committee. We will work diligently to ensure that the proposal is positively received during the plenary session. In conclusion, we remain hopeful that with our continued efforts, the proposal will become law.

It should be noted that this initiative will not only protect animals raised or killed for human consumption, but all those found in the state, as it will also punish those who carry out acts of bestiality, abandon animals, participate in or organize animal fights, among other behaviors.

How You Can Help Animals

Show your support for this important cause and make your voice heard! Together, we can work towards a more humane and sustainable future for all animals. Join our End Factory Farming campaign by signing our petition today.

Consider replacing meat, dairy, eggs, or other animal products with plant-based ones. Join our Love Veg movement and invite your friends too!

Woman caring for a horse.

Defend HORSES

Considered companions by many, horses are sensitive and intelligent animals who deserve protection.

Protect these beautiful animals by choosing plant‑based foods.


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