Mexico

D
Mexico
Recognising animal protection

Recognising animal protection

This theme examines recognition of animal sentience and the importance of animal protection as a societal value within the country, including government support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, prohibition of cruelty and protection for different categories of animals.

D

Formal recognition of animal sentience

There is legislation with partial application

The United Mexican States, known as Mexico, is a federal republic composed of 31 states and a federal district (Mexico City). Each of the states and the Federal District has its own constitution, laws and regulations. Animal welfare laws vary widely between states in terms of scope of animal protection. There is little consistency in the animal welfare legislation across the federal states and the Federal Criminal Code of Mexico (Código Penal Federal), which applies to all states and the Federal District, does not contain any animal welfare provisions.

Animal sentience is not formally recognised in state level legislation, but most states, and the Federal District, have legislation containing some partial or implied recognition of sentience. Most states refer to the ability of animals to suffer, and a couple of states go beyond that. For example, the law in San Luis de Potosi refers to the psychological health of animals (Article 3 State Law on the Protection of Animals 347 of 1995). The law in Quintana Roo refers to promoting the dignity of animals (Article 1 Law on the Protection and Well-being of Animals). A number of states recognise animals’ behavioural needs: Zacatecas (Article 4 Law for the Protection and Well-being of Animals), Yucatan (Article 3 Law for the Protection of Fauna), Chihuahua (Article 3 Law on the Well-being of Animals).

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is allocation of responsibilities to authorities throughout the states and the federal district. The degree to which state laws are implemented and enforced, and who is responsible for this, varies significantly. Generally local Ministries of Environment or Natural Resources monitor and enforce the provisions contained within state animal protection legislation; however, a small number of state laws do not specify responsible authorities.

There is an apparent lack of evidence that the federal government is trying to achieve consistency in animal protection legislation across the country. Development of a national animal welfare strategy that aims to achieve cohesion in animal protection could prove extremely valuable in promoting animal welfare in Mexico.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The variance in animal welfare protection from state to state means that across Mexico there is no consistency in the level of protection offered to animals. This inconsistency acts as a barrier to improving animal welfare in the country.

Recognition that animals are sentient is a first step in creating legislation to protect animals and improve their welfare. The government is recommended to incorporate animal welfare provisions matching the high standards set by the State of Colima into this national legislation to unite all states in improving animal welfare.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The existing animal protection legislation at state level contains enforcement mechanisms including fines and administrative arrest. Fines are the most commonly used method of enforcement, ranging from 1 to 500 times the daily minimum wage in the state or federal district, with large variation between states.

G

Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

There is no government support

The government has not pledged in principle support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

Note: The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a proposed formal international acknowledgment of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community. An expression of support for the UDAW demonstrates a government’s commitment to working with the international community to improve animal welfare.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Support for UDAW would be a first step into integrating animal protection considerations into different discussion tables, becoming a soft law source for decision makers interested in improving animal protection in the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The federal government of Mexico is encouraged to pledge in principle support for the UDAW as this will assist in promoting good models of animal welfare policy and help to introduce animal welfare considerations into decision-making processes for other policies.  Government support for UDAW would be a positive step in expressing a desire to improve animal protection in the country. Given that animal sentience is recognised in some states and that animal protection appears to be addressed in a number of laws it should be possible for the government to take action in support of the UDAW.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

D

Laws against causing animal suffering

There is legislation with partial application

Most of the states and the Federal District have animal welfare legislation preventing cruelty to animals, but there are differences between the systems. In many states, infliction of cruelty by negligence is included, including in Michoacan (Article 16, Law on the Protection of Animals, 156 of 1988), Quintana Roo (Article 5, Law on the Protection and Welfare of Animals, 2010) and the Federal District (Article 4, Law on the Protection of Animals, 2002), although this is not always the case, for example in Tlaxcala (Law on the Protection of Animals, 84 of 2003), and some only include certain categories of animal in the protection (such as Baja California). There are no relevant laws in the states of Chiapas and Baja California Sur.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The inconsistencies in animal welfare protection across the states mean that animals in some areas of the country are better protected than others. A gap remains in Mexican animal welfare law in those states that do not currently have comprehensive legislation, and animal welfare could be improved if standards were consistent across the country.

In those states that prohibit acts of cruelty, not all include neglect or failure to act in this prohibition.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

State laws place the responsibility of enforcement and implementation on regional ministries and, in some cases, animal protection NGOs. In the Federal District, the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for implementing the regional animal protection legislation. The Ministries of the Environment, of Health and of Education of the Federal District together implement specific programs statewide to “spread culture and behaviour of good treatment and respect for animals.” It would be beneficial to animal welfare if the high standards set by some of the regions, such as the Federal District, were included in the Federal Criminal Code and thus applicable nationwide. Currently, devolved regulation inhibits the promotion of animal welfare concerns across the country.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The existing animal protection legislation at state level contains enforcement mechanisms including fines and administrative arrest. Fines are the most commonly used method of enforcement, ranging from 1 to 500 times the daily minimum wage in the state or federal district, with large variation between states.

B

Protecting animals used in farming

There is legislation

A number of provisions concerning the welfare of animals used in farming appear at Articles 19 to 23 of the Federal Animal Health Act 2007 (Ley Federal de Sanidad Animal). This Act is applicable across the country and applies to all animals except aquatic animals (Article 4). The main aim of the Act is to diagnose, prevent and control diseases affecting animals, however, welfare issues are also mentioned. Although not specifically referred to as such, this Act does include all principles of the Five Freedoms (Article 20(I)) as matters to be taken into consideration when secondary regulations are made under the Act.

Article 21 of the Act provides that the owners or keepers of domestic animals must provide adequate quantity and quality of food and water, veterinarian supervision and immediate attention in case of illness or injury.

The Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food is responsible for safeguarding the health and welfare of animals in ‘primary production’ (Article 3). The Secretariat certifies, verifies and reviews the implementation of the provisions in the Act, determines measures of good husbandry practices and produces rules based on scientific principles and international recommendations, including in relation to animal welfare (Article 19), transport and humane slaughter (Articles 22, 23, 27(VI)), and animal health measures which may include procedures and requirements for ensuring good animal welfare (Article 16(XIV)). Animal welfare is defined as activities designed to provide comfort, peace, protection and security for animals during breeding, husbandry, use, transportation and slaughter.

The general anti-cruelty provisions at state level also apply to animals used in farming.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

This legislation is intended to safeguard animal health, however, the government has recognised the connection between animal health and animal welfare, and therefore the Federal Animal Health Act 2007 operates to protect the welfare of this category of animals. A broad range of responsibilities are allocated to the authority for the purposes of implementing this Act, including engagement with relevant stakeholders and dissemination of information. The legislation makes mention of an available budget for programs and projects necessary to implement the provisions.

There are currently vast inconsistencies across the country in the animal protection provided by state laws. Despite the commitment of the Mexican government to improving animal welfare in this category as demonstrated in the Federal Act, individual state authorities have not indicated that they acknowledge the welfare challenges faced by farm animals, and no literature has been found demonstrating aims to promote the existing federal legislation for animals of this category nationally or regionally. Federal authorities are advised to produce and implement detailed secondary legislation, as envisaged by the Act, across the country. The inclusion of regulations covering animals in this category in Federal legislation would go further to promote the issue across the country, and subsequently raise concern about the concept of animal welfare in each state.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government has allocated human resource and budget to the implementation of provisions within the Federal Animal Health Act 2007. There do not appear to be any significant cultural barriers to the improvement of the welfare of farm animals within Mexico; however, there is no evidence of promotion of such improvement. Further development of the more detailed rules anticipated by the Act and of policy at both federal and state level is encouraged to incorporate the range of welfare issues faced by animals used in farming.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Infringement of the requirement to provide food, water and veterinary medical assistance under Article 21 of the Animal Health Act 2007 is an administrative offence (Article 167(III)). Breach of regulations produced by the Secretariat on animal welfare and on humane slaughter is also an administrative offence (Article 167 (II) and (IV)). These administrative offences are punishable with suspension of licence, closure of premises and/or financial penalty. The amount fined depends on the offence, ranging from 20 to 100,000 days of the amount of the minimum wage (which, for the purposes of the Act, is referenced to the minimum wage of the Federal District at the time the offense was committed). These are the only punishments available for animal welfare related offences. Harsher enforcement mechanisms, including imprisonment terms for two to eight years, are in place for offences relating to animal health and risking or endangering the health status of the country.

The Secretariat also has inspection powers set out within Article 126 of the Act.

There are enforcement mechanisms for state-level anti-cruelty legislation.

C

Protecting animals in captivity

There is legislation

Although not specifically referred to as such, the Federal Animal Health Act 2007 (Ley Federal de Sanidad Animal), applicable across the country, does include all criteria of the Five Freedoms (Article 20(I)) as matters to be taken into consideration when secondary regulations are made under the Act. The Act applies to all animals except aquatic animals (Article 4). Article 21 requires that adequate quantity and quality of food and water, veterinarian supervision and immediate attention in case of illness or injury must be provided to wild animals kept in captivity.

The Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food is the body responsible for safeguarding the health and welfare of animals covered by the Federal Animal Health Act 2007. The Secretariat determines measures of good husbandry practices and produces rules based on scientific principles and international recommendations, including in relation to animal welfare (Article 19) and animal health measures, which may include procedures and requirements for ensuring good animal welfare (Article 16(XIV)). Animal welfare is defined as activities designed to provide comfort, peace, protection and security for animals during breeding, husbandry, use, transportation and slaughter.

The General Law of Wildlife 2000 (Ley General de Vida Silvestre) contains provisions applicable to animals in captivity. Article 5(VIII) mandates that the authorities shall provide for improving the quality of life for wildlife kept in captivity, “using the techniques, biological and ecological knowledge of each species.” Article 78 states that public or private collections of wild species, including zoos, circuses and private collections, must register and update their data annually to the corresponding authority, and have a management plan approved by the Secretariat. Article 78 Bis lists the elements that management plans must contain: including, but not limited to, biological information for each species, type of confinement by species and number of individuals, diet provided to each individual, clinical and animal health care and means of transport for mobilisation.

State protection legislation specifically relating to captive animals varies across Mexico.  A number of states make provision for freedom of movement of captive animals, for example, in Durango (Article 43 Law on the Protection of Animals). Some include prohibitions on feeding dangerous foods or objects to animals, for example in Guerrero (Article 22 Law on the Protection of Animals). Some states require a permit for keeping animals in captivity. Animal protection legislation in some other states, including the Federal District, does not contain any specific provisions for captive animal welfare.

The general anti-cruelty provisions at state level also apply to animals kept in captivity.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Federal authorities recognise that a number of factors may be detrimental to the welfare of animals in captivity, as reflected in the General Law of Wildlife 2000, which is applicable across the country. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is the responsible authority for the implementation of the provisions in this Law, including inspecting premises to verify implementation of designated management plans.

Authorities in a number of states and the Federal District, but not in all, have their own regional legislation that acknowledges that captive animals experience conditions that have the potential to be detrimental to their welfare. Methods for implementing the state legislation vary. In some states, such as Campeche, animal welfare groups lend their cooperation to the authorities to implement the law, whereas in other states there is no evidence of similar promotion of the regulations.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The Federal Animal Health Act 2007 contains limited provisions protecting this category of animal. The General Law of Wildlife 2000 goes further to protect the welfare of wild animals in captivity at federal level. There is evidence of human resource allocated to the implementation and promotion of this law, but no evidence of financial resource allocation to the delivery of this task.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Infringement of the requirement to provide food, water and veterinary medical assistance under Article 21 of the Animal Health Act 2007 is an administrative offence (Article 167(III)). Breach of any regulations produced by the Secretariat on animal welfare is also an administrative offence (Article 167 (II)). These administrative offences are punishable with suspension of licence, closure of premises and/or financial penalty. The amount fined depends on the offence, ranging from 20 to 100,000 days of the amount of the minimum wage (which, for the purposes of the Act, is referenced to the minimum wage of the Federal District at the time the offense was committed). These are the only punishments available for animal welfare related offences. Harsher enforcement mechanisms, including imprisonment terms for two to eight years, are in place for offences relating to animal health and risking or endangering the health status of the country. The Secretariat also has inspection powers set out within Article 126 of the Act.

Violations of the General Law of Wildlife 2000 are punishable with, depending on the nature of the violation; written warning, fine (20 to 5000 times minimum wage), temporary or permanent suspension of licences or permits, administrative arrest (up to 36 hours), and community service related to wildlife conservation. The Secretariat has inspection powers set out within Article 78 of the Act.

There are enforcement mechanisms for all of the state-level anti-cruelty legislation.

B

Protecting companion animals

There is legislation

At national level, Article 21 of the Federal Animal Health Act 2007 provides that the owners or keepers of domestic animals must provide adequate quantity and quality of food and water, veterinarian supervision and immediate attention in case of illness or injury.

The welfare of companion animals is also protected in some state animal protection legislation.

Each of the states and the Federal District has some legislation specifically relating to companion animals. The scope of each state’s legislation varies. Some states have provisions on responsible pet ownership that may have welfare implications. For example, in San Luis de Potosi (Article 76 Law on the Protection of Animals) and Durango (Article 21 Law on the Protection of Animals) pets cannot be sold to children under 12 without an adult taking responsibility for the animal, and in Quintana Roo microchipping is required (Article 35 Law on the Protection and Well-being of Animals). Others have specific welfare considerations, for example, in Morelos and Guerrero breeders are required to use methods that allow animals to express normal behaviours. The most extensive provisions are found in the state of Zacatecas, where owners must treat animals with respect and provide adequate food, water, space and shelter, appropriate veterinary treatment, immunisations and exercise according to breed (Article 22 Law for the Protection and Well-being of Animals).

The general anti-cruelty provisions at state level also apply to companion animals.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

By including companion animal welfare provisions in the Federal Criminal Code, consistency in protection and, ideally, increased awareness and concern about welfare issues could be achieved throughout Mexico. However there appears to be no public evidence that the government is trying to achieve consistency in animal protection legislation across the country. Development of a national animal welfare strategy to achieve cohesion in animal protection could prove extremely valuable.

Responsibility for implementing state legislation rests with state authorities and enforcement and promotion mechanisms vary between states. In Hidalgo, the law establishes a Fund for the Protection of Animals, which is part government-funded, and the remit of which includes conducting campaigns to sterilise dogs and cats (Article 80 Law of Protection and Humane Treatment of Animals). Similar campaigns are envisaged by the legislation in Veracruz (rabies vaccination, sterilisation and deworming: Article 15 Law on the Protection of Animals), Chihuahua (responsible breeding and sterilisation: Article 6 Law on the Well-being of Animals).

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

High standards of companion animal protection can only be achieved nationally by including such legislation in federal legislation, such as the Federal Criminal Code. The Federal Criminal Code currently does not contain any animal welfare provisions; therefore the protection of companion animals remains inconsistent nationally. The government is recommended to incorporate companion animal welfare provisions matching the high standards set by some states, such as Zacatecas (Article 22 Law for the Protection and Well-being of Animals), into national legislation to unite all states in improving the welfare of this category of animals.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Infringement of the requirement to provide food, water and veterinary medical assistance under Article 21 of the Federal Animal Health Act 2007 is an administrative offence (Article 167(III)), punishable with financial penalty.

There are enforcement mechanisms for the state level legislation.

C

Protecting animals used for draught and recreation

There is legislation

The Federal Animal Health Act 2007 is applicable across the country and applies to all animals except aquatic animals (Article 4). Although not specifically referred to as such, this Act does include all criteria of the Five Freedoms (Article 20(I)) as issues to be taken into consideration during development of secondary regulations under the Act. Article 21 of the Act provides that the owners or keepers of domestic animals and of captive wild animals must provide adequate quantity and quality of food and water, veterinary supervision and immediate attention in case of illness or injury.

The Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food determines measures of good husbandry practices and produces rules based on scientific principles and international recommendations, including in relation to animal health measures which may include procedures and requirements for ensuring good animal welfare (Article 16(XIV)). Animal welfare is defined as activities designed to provide comfort, peace, protection and security for animals during breeding, husbandry, use, transportation and slaughter.

The general anti-cruelty provisions at state level also apply to animals used in draught and entertainment.

The majority of Mexican state animal protection legislation includes welfare provisions specifically relating to animals used for draught purposes, with varying level of detail.

For example, in the Federal District (Article 5 Law on the Protection of Animals), Queretaro (Article 2 Law on the Protection of Animals) and in Zacatecas Article 5 Law for the Protection and Well-being of Animals), working animals have the right to rest, food and reasonable limitations on the period and intensity of work. The state of Hidalgo puts specific limits on the number of hours that can be worked (Article 31 Law on the Protection and Humane Treatment of Animals). Several states, including San Luis de Potosi (Article 19 Law on the Protection of Animals) and Veracruz (Article 41 Law on the Protection of Animals), limit the weight that an animal can be required to carry to one third of that animal’s own weight. The law in Jalisco provides that working animals will be monitored by municipal inspectors (Article 56 Law on the Protection and Care of Animals).

Most states do not have legislation specifically regulating the use of animals for recreational purposes. In Jalisco these animals “must be treated humanely” (Article 57 Law on the Protection and Care of Animals), in Quintana Roo they must be given respect and dignity (Article 44 Law on the Protection and Well-being of Animals), and in Coahuila they must have adequate living space (Article 11 Law on the Protection of Animals), In the State of Sonora it is prohibited to issue permits or licences authorising bullfights (Article 8 Law on the Protection of Animals).

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Development of a national animal welfare strategy with aims to achieve cohesion in animal protection could prove extremely valuable.

The current maintenance and funding of bullfighting throughout Mexico harms efforts to improve the welfare of animals used for recreational purposes. The state of Sonora is the first in Mexico to ban this activity (Article 8 Law on the Protection of Animals). There are significant welfare issues related to bullfighting, which are acknowledged by the state of Sonora in page 4 of the preamble to the Law on the Protection of Animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Cultural attitudes to the use of animals in entertainment present a barrier to improvement in this area. Bullfighting is a centuries old tradition in Mexico. Bullfighting is currently legal in 30 out of the 31 states and Federal District, furthermore, the government contributes funds to maintain the activity as a part of cultural heritage. This not only acts as a barrier to improving animal welfare in the country but also contributes to the perpetuation of poor animal welfare for the bulls involved. Although bullfighting was recently banned in the state of Sonora, cockfighting remains legal in that state (with a clear exemption under Article 8 of Law on the Protection of Animals) and across Mexico.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Infringement of the requirement to provide food, water and veterinary medical assistance under Article 21 of the Federal Animal Health Act 2007 is an administrative offence (Article 167(III)), punishable with financial penalty.

There are enforcement mechanisms for the relevant state legislation.

D

Protecting animals used in scientific research

There is legislation with partial application

The Official Mexican Standard NOM-062-ZOO-1999 ‘technical specifications for production, care and use of laboratory animals’ contains criteria established to regulate proper care and handling of laboratory animals while protecting human health. The standard relates to laboratory rodents, lagomorphs (rabbits), carnivores, primates and swine. The regulations cover a broad range of concerns regarding care and management of laboratory animals, including feeding, housing, transport, pain relief and prevention, euthanasia and staff training. Although the standard itself states that compliance is mandatory, this does not appear to be cemented in legislation at federal level.

At state level, the majority of states and the Federal District include provisions on animal experimentation in their animal protection legislation. The legislation of the Federal District and a number of other states requires compliance with the Official Mexican Standard for laboratory animals.

Most regional legislation requires experiments involving animals to be fully justified to relevant authorities. Such experiments must be for the purpose of advancing scientific knowledge or aiding the control of human or animal disease. However, a small number of states have no mention of animals used in scientific research within their animal protection legislation.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food in Mexico is responsible for encouraging proper “production, care and use of laboratory animals” according to the Official Mexican Standards. This authority applies techniques designed to ensure the health and proper use of this category of animal, and implore regional governments to do the same.

The national standards are detailed and make specific provisions for the care of animals used in scientific research. However, they are not legally mandated at federal level, nor do they appear to aim to reduce the number of animals used in experimentation, nor are facilities required to provide justification for their use. Although it is positive that a number of states have incorporated these requirements in their regional legislation, inclusion in mandatory national standards would help to increase concern over the issue of welfare of laboratory animals across Mexico. The OIE’s guiding principles state that the internationally recognised Three Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement) provide valuable guidance for the use of animals in science. Incorporating the principle of the Three Rs into legislation would help to improve the welfare of these animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The current lack of requirements for protocol review by an animal ethics committee presents a barrier to the improvement of animal welfare. The use of animals in scientific research carries with it an ethical responsibility to ensure their welfare and moral justification of their use.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

No enforcement mechanisms have been identified for the Official Mexican Standards for laboratory animals.

There are enforcement mechanisms for the relevant state legislation.

C

Protecting the welfare of wild animals

There is legislation with partial application

The General Law of Wildlife 2000 (Ley General de Vida Silvestre) contains provisions on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of wildlife. However, this law is primarily focused on conservation and the welfare-related provisions relate only to captive wild animals.

Although hunting is legal with a valid permit in the General Law of Wildlife 2000, hunting, capture and trade of wildlife is prohibited in a small number of states and the Federal District.

Regional protection of wild animals varies greatly between states, with no legislative protection in many. Some conservation provisions have a welfare impact, such as the prohibition on damaging or killing wildlife in Queretaro (Article 26 Law on the Protection of Animals). Many of the states exclude wild animals from their general anti-cruelty legislation.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is responsible for the implementation of the General Law of Wildlife 2000, which is applicable across the country. Article 21 states that the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources must coordinate with the Ministry of Education to promote the development of projects in rural schools and higher education contributing to the conservation of wildlife and their habitats. The Secretariat is mandated to promote and participate in training of relevant authorities to achieve the objectives of this law.

Consideration of conservation issues presents an opportunity for the welfare of individual wild animals to be considered.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Seasonal hunting of many species of wild animals is legal in Mexico, with a valid permit. Federal and state legislation lacks detail regarding permitted hunting and killing methods. Introduction of such measures could help to protect wild animals from cruel and inhumane killing.

The efforts of the Mexican government to protect populations and habitats of wild animals with the General Law of Wildlife 2000 is encouraging and it may be that such efforts could be extended to develop legislation to protect wild animals from conduct causing suffering. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Violations of the General Law of Wildlife 2000 are punishable with, depending on the nature of the violation, written warning, fine (20 to 5000 times minimum wage), temporary or permanent suspension of licences or permits, administrative arrest (up to 36 hours), and community service related to wildlife conservation.

Relevant regional animal protection legislation contains enforcement mechanisms.

Governance structures and systems

Governance structures and systems

This theme examines government commitment to improving animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government.

C

Government accountability for animal welfare

There is legislation

The Ministry of Health is responsible for implementation of the relevant provisions in the Federal Animal Health Act 2007, with the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food responsible for developing more detailed rules. The Secretariat has the responsibility for integrating and developing technical committees on animal health and animal welfare (Article 6(X)). Activity reports from the Secretariat refer to such committees and other organs in charge of promoting animal health and animal welfare, although individual reports on their activities were not found in the preparation of this report.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is responsible for implementation of the relevant provisions in the General Law of Wildlife 2000. The legislation does not mention specific budgets for doing so.

The regional authorities accountable for improving animal protection differ between states, but the majority of state legislation specifies the responsible body. In the Federal District, for example, the Ministries of Environment, Health and Education are responsible for implementing and promoting the animal protection legislation.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The relevant federal legislation does not contain provisions specifying budget allowances for implementation at a national level, and neither does it contain provisions for cooperation and implementation of the national legislation at a state or Federal District level.

The majority of the regional legislation is the responsibility of state ministers and secretariats, who may defer responsibility of enforcement to animal welfare groups. There is no clear accountability or methods for tracking progress in terms of animal welfare improvement. The efforts of different states vary. In the Federal District, the Ministries of Environment, Health and Education implement relevant programs annually circulate “behaviours and culture of good treatment and respect for animals”, whereas many other state authorities do not indicate efforts to promote animal welfare as a societal value.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

It would be beneficial for the national government to coordinate animal welfare legislation and policy at a central level, working in cooperation with the states and Federal District to improve animal welfare protection across the country, with reporting requirements and resources allocated. This could help to overcome some of the current inconsistencies in animal protection legislation across the country, and harmonise the legislation, while holding state authorities accountable for maintaining animal protection in their regions. There is no apparent evidence indicating that the national government currently works with regional authorities in improving animal welfare, as such state legislation varies greatly in content and level of implementation and enforcement.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The responsibilities of the relevant government bodies are set out in legislation and thus subject to challenge if they were to fail to fulfil those duties. However in relation to the role of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, most of the animal welfare-specific provisions of the Federal Animal Health Act 2007 give that body powers to make detailed rules, rather than requiring it to do so.

Animal welfare standards

Animal welfare standards

This theme examines whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, the extent of engagement with the OIE on animal welfare issues, and whether the government publishes reports on progress in improving animal welfare.

D

Engagement with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

There is policy

The government is engaged with the OIE in reporting instances of disease outbreak and in conducting disease simulation exercises. In 2011 an OIE/FEI (International Federation of Equestrian Sports) conference was held in Mexico calling for improvements to movement of horses in South America. Changes to quarantine for horses competing at national and international levels were called for in an effort to safeguard animal health and welfare. However, neither national animal health nor regional animal welfare legislation refer to engagement with the OIE and there is no evidence of the government engaging with the OIE to improve animal welfare legislation.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

In terms of application of the OIE’s guiding principles and standards in Mexico, a small number of these are covered by the legislation. Active engagement with the OIE to improve animal welfare is encouraged to demonstrate the will of the government to achieve animal welfare standards in line with good international standards, and to show a commitment to improving animal welfare across the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no apparent evidence of an allocated budget or a department to interact with the OIE on issues regarding animal welfare improvement. However, Mexico does participate in engagement with the OIE via its Director General of Animal Health and Mexico is a member of the OIE’s Regional Commission for the Americas, thus there are opportunities to increase engagement.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator. 

D

OIE animal welfare standards

There is legislation with partial application

Nationally, the Federal Animal Health Act 2007 contains sections on farm animal health that mention transportation and slaughter; however this envisages detailed rules being made by the Secretariat. The Official Mexican Standards for laboratory animals cover many of the OIE’s standards on animals used in science and research, but are not mandatory.

There is much disparity across the states in terms of what the animal welfare legislation contains, and therefore some states have legislation that incorporates the OIE’s guiding principles and standards more closely than others. Some regions do not incorporate any, such as Jalisco, or only one or two principles, such as Chiapas and Tlaxcala. 

The OIE’s animal welfare standards on beef cattle, broiler chicken and farmed fish production systems are not included in regional or national Mexican legislation.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Current law across Mexican states and the Federal District varies greatly. The first step to incorporating the OIE’s standards into legislation would be to harmonise the current laws and to revise these to include the OIE’s standards and guiding principles. This could create a good baseline for animal protection in the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

As the Mexican Federal States and the Federal District are autonomous, there is a lack of consistency in animal welfare legislation and consequently the level to which the standards and guiding principles have been incorporated.

Nationally, it would improve welfare if the Mexican Criminal Code were to be reviewed and updated to incorporate animal welfare provisions, including the OIE’s standards and guiding principles more closely. The lack of joined up legislation that meets the OIE’s standards on animal welfare is a barrier to improving animal protection across the country, and there is no evidence of engagement with the OIE on the subject of animal welfare.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Enforcement mechanisms are not widespread with regard to the OIE’s standards and principles across existing legislation. Those states which do have legislation incorporating some of the standards have varying enforcement mechanisms.

Guidance on understanding the OIE, its role and the standards could benefit animals in the country and help citizens understand ways to improve animal welfare.

G

Reporting on progress

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence of the government reporting on progress towards improving standards of animal welfare across the country. Legislation of the Federal District and states does not include any requirements that relevant government bodies publish such reports.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The implementation of a policy or regulation requiring the production of reports would be beneficial in promoting animal protection and animal welfare across the country. This would also assist in highlighting inconsistencies in animal protection between states and identifying areas for prioritisation and harmonisation. Regional reports could also allow the state governments to gauge the effectiveness of the current legislation and enforcement mechanisms. Government bodies are advised to collect data, for example on the effectiveness of implementation of current legislation, to enable reporting to take place.  At present, there is no evidence to suggest that such structures are in place, neither regionally or at a national level. Providing such tools would undoubtedly help discussions on animal welfare to be held at a high government level.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The lack of a comprehensive animal welfare strategy with goals against which progress can be monitored and reported is a barrier to improving animal welfare. However, the Government produces high quality reports and strategies in other areas, for example, regarding conservation and biological diversity[1] and given political will similar actions could be put into place regarding animal protection. It is suggested that as a first step towards strategic reporting that the Government could put into place measures to report on progress towards implementing the OIE animal welfare standards.

 

[1] http://www.conabio.gob.mx/institucion/cooperacion_internacional/doctos/i...

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

Providing humane education

Providing humane education

This theme examines whether issues of animal care and protection are included in the national education system at primary and secondary level, and comments on whether animal welfare issues such as humane handling form part of veterinary medicine education.

D

Education on animal care and protection

There is policy

The national curriculum of Mexico is applied across the country. There is no public evidence of the inclusion of animal care and protection in compulsory education; however, animal welfare programmes targeting teachers of students aged from 5 to 16 have been established in the country by NGOs, showing that there is some government support of humane education.[1]

The National Council for Veterinary Medicine Education was founded in 1995 to promote quality veterinary teaching in Mexico. Veterinary medicine schools (universities and colleges) are routinely assessed on a number of criteria, including curriculum, faculty and finance. The inclusion of animal welfare and animal husbandry in the programme’s curriculum is required for an institution to be accredited. In 2004 eight veterinary education programmes were accredited in Mexico, with three colleges to be reviewed for accreditation.[2] Accredited institutions include Universidad Nacional Autonoma (in the Federal District), Universidad de Durango and Universidad de Zacatecas.

 

[1] http://www.animalmosaic.org/Images/CaseStudy-Puebla-Education-English_tc...

[2] http://www.utpjournals.com/jvme/tocs/312/111.pdf

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Formalisation of animal welfare components within the country’s school level education system is one of the most powerful ways to make the concept of animal welfare a mainstream concern of society. There is no apparent evidence of formal education plans or curriculums with animal welfare content in compulsory education in Mexico (age 6 to 15). To effectively raise awareness of animal welfare concerns, measures should be undertaken to mandate the presence of animal welfare in the national curriculum.

The process of accrediting veterinary schools encourages high standards of humane education and helps institutions to identify deficiencies in their programme. Institutions can seek funding from the Mexican federal government to implement certain programmes, such as animal welfare education.8

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

No evidence has been found that Mexico’s national curriculum includes any reference to animal welfare. Inclusion of animal welfare as a required course in the compulsory education system would help to imbed the importance of this into society. This is particularly important for the many communities that rely on animals for their livelihoods. There may be financial barriers to the improvement of this issue; however existing levels of cooperation with NGOs delivering humane education suggest that the government may be able to effect some improvement here. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

Promoting communication and awareness

Promoting communication and awareness

This theme examines whether there is government consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders on animal protection issues, such as the development of new legislation and policy and the licensing of scientific research using animals.

C

Consultation with stakeholders

There is legislation with partial application

There is no federal legislation that makes engagement with relevant stakeholders compulsory.

However, a small number of states and the Federal District refer to engagement and cooperation with animal welfare NGOs in their state legislation. For example, within the Federal District, the Citizen Advisory Council for the Care and Welfare of Animals, a body of institutional coordination and public participation and collaboration, establishes actions and sets policies to guarantee animal protection. The Council consists of representatives from the Ministries of Environment, Health and Education, a number of delegation chiefs and representatives from animal welfare groups. Similar councils and boards exist in a few other Mexican states, such as the City Council of Animal Protection and Welfare in the State of Mexico, which serves as a permanent channel of communication between animal welfare organisations and the state government. 

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Although efforts are made in some of the states and the Federal District to consult with relevant stakeholders, there is no evidence of such consultation at a federal level.

Regularly engaging relevant stakeholders who work within fields utilising animals, or NGOs promoting animal welfare, is encouraged in order to provide expertise on the subject and to promote animal protection in the country’s legislation.

Some states plan and administer animal welfare legislation through a board containing representatives from relevant governmental bodies and NGOs. A similar board at a federal level in Mexico could ensure that valuable stakeholders are represented and their advice considered when reviewing relevant legislation.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There are not considered to be any significant barriers to the government working in partnership with others to improve animal welfare in the country. The government has demonstrated effectiveness and willingness to work with partners on a range of initiatives.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

In some states, although not all, consultation with relevant stakeholders is mandated in legislation.

Countries Selected
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The Mexican economy slowed down in 2013, with growth at just 1.2%. However, the structural reforms pushed through by President Enrique Pena Nieto and a boost from reconstruction projects will stimulate growth. The EIU forecasts that GDP growth will come in at an annual average of 3.8% for the period 2014-18. As the US recovers, exports will also improve, as approximately 78% of exports go to the US. Remittance from emigrants in the US will also boost consumption in Mexico as US growth accelerates. Overall, the outlook is optimistic for Mexico, based on “a booming manufacturing sector, increasingly strong private consumer and favourable demographics”. In the longer term, EIU forecasts real GDP growth to average out at 3.6% for the period 2012-30.

 

Date of information: 11/02/2014
Population 
120,847,477
GDP 
$1,177,955,511,614
GDP (PPP) 
$16,731
Education expenditure (% of GDP) 
5.3 (2010)