Costa Ricans fight to criminalize animal cruelty

May 29, 2009

Long lauded for its green image, Costa Rica could soon see stiffer laws to protect animal rights that would put animal abusers in jail.

An animal rights collective has proposed a law against maltreatment and cruelty to animals, group leader Carlos Zamora said in a statement.

Zamora said the use of instruments to inflict unnecessary punishment and pain upon animals, engaging animals in fighting games, food depravation, the use of drugs to force them to work excessive hours or overworking animals when they are ill are all examples of acts that should be punishable by jail time.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, animal cruelty is a possible indicator leading to violence against other humans and other criminal acts.

Under current Costa Rican law, cruelty to animals is punished by fines.

The proposal, which was presented last week through the Legislative Assembly´s Popular Initiatives Office, faces a potentially long process before it can be voted into law.

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