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Guatemala Passes Groundbreaking Anti-Cruelty Laws

Sweeping animal cruelty reforms wipe out cosmetic animal testing, along with other cruel practices.

The Congress of Guatemala approved an omnibus anti-animal cruelty bill last week. The new set of laws—drafted and submitted by The Humane Society International (HSI)—provide protections to animals in laboratories, circuses, homes, and in the wild. “The law cracks down on perpetrators of animal cruelty by establishing fines and setting up the government to deal with cruelty cases,” HSI global field manager Cynthia Dent said. In addition to completely banning cosmetic animal testing and dogfighting in the country, the laws will promote spaying and neutering companion animals to alleviate the stray dog population in Guatemala. Culling wild animals and abandoning animals is now illegal and penalties have been put in place for violators of these new laws—including punishment for spectators of cruel acts. “The law creates an official government platform to address animal welfare,” Humane Society of the United States president Wayne Pacelle said. HSI will help the Guatemalan government to implement the comprehensive new laws and is working with officials in other countries to pass similar legislation. Recently, HSI helped the Indian government ban the import of exotic furs and animal skins, and prompted the government of Pará—the second largest state in Brazil—to pass a ban on animal testing.

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