At the end of 2022, something remarkable happened in Mexico: The Tlaxcala State Congress approved new legislation recognizing animal abuse, including dogfighting, as a crime punishable by law. We at Humane Society International/Mexico celebrated this win. The legislation, first introduced in 2021, represents a monumental victory for Mexico and is an important step toward a nationwide policy that guarantees animal well-being. With Tlaxcala banning animal cruelty, only one state in the country, Chiapas, has yet to criminalize the mistreatment of animals in its local criminal code.
This progress in Mexico has been years in the making. Thanks to the activism of various civic organizations and increasing awareness and concern for animals among citizens, several state laws protecting animals have been passed in the past decade. One groundbreaking example is Mexico City’s constitution, one of the most animal-friendly in the Americas, which guarantees the “right to a healthy environment” for animals. We are proud to have helped draft the portion of the constitution that recognizes animals as sentient beings whose welfare must be protected.
Another important milestone was the federal ban on dogfighting in June 2017. In 2016, our team launched the “No More Dogfighting” (No + Peleas de Perros) campaign. Not only was it very well received by legislators, and the population in general, but it also received media coverage in more than 160 news articles. The ban on dogfighting marked the first time any form of animal abuse was penalized at the federal level in Mexico. The law also paved the way for Mexican states to move forward in approving much-needed reforms and strong penalties concerning dog fighting. In 2018, for example, the states of Chihuahua and Yucatan approved bills to penalize a range of activities related to dogfighting. Fortunately, today most states in Mexico have an animal protection law.
Companion animals aren’t the only ones receiving protection in Mexico. In 2021, Mexico became the first nation in North America to pass a law banning animal testing for cosmetics. It also bans the import, manufacture, and marketing of cosmetics that have been tested on animals anywhere in the world. The legislation was championed by HSI/Mexico and our partner ONG TeProtejo, with support from many of the corporate members of the Animal-Free Safety Assessment Collaboration. Our multi-year campaign collected nearly 1.5 million signatures in support of the ban, thanks to the power of our film, Save Ralph, which featured the Spanish-speaking voice talents of George Lopez, Rosario Dawson, and Wilmer Valderrama. The bill won the unanimous support of Mexico’s senate.