This country's score has stayed the same since 2014.
Recognition of animal sentience and prohibition of animal suffering
This goal assesses whether animal sentience has been recognised in legislation and explores the core legislative protections granted to animals, such as the prohibition of animal cruelty.
Animal Sentience is formally recognised in legislation
As it stands today, there is no formal evidence or signal from the Government to recognise sentience as an independent issue that will inform discussions of animal issues in the country. As such, sentience is not included and does not inform public policies that could be potentially linked to animals, such as environmental or sustainable production policies.
Laws against causing animal suffering
Law 18471 on the Responsible Tenure of Animals defines its objective as to ‘protect animals’ life and wellbeing’ (Article 1) and has a general prohibition against causing death, inflicting pain or inducing ‘excessive stress’ to animals, unless it is for reasons specified in the law such as veterinary treatment (Article 12). Article 12(A) prohibits mistreating or injuring animals, meaning abusive action causing excessive harm or stress or impairment to bodily integrity.
However, two exemptions exist to this anti-cruelty provision, namely ‘any manipulations, treatments or surgical interventions, whose function is to improve the quality of life of the animal or the control of the population of the species in question, carried out under the supervision of a veterinarian or by the authority's mandate’. Secondly, ‘any manipulation, treatment or surgical intervention that is made as a result of usual practices’ in livestock management are exempt from cruelty considerations. Moreover, Article 3 mentions the slaughter of animals for ‘religious rites.’
Article 12 also contains a list of specific forms of conduct that are banned under the legislation, such as bullfighting, promotion of animal fighting, feeding animals with live animals, genetic manipulation and other similar concepts.
The law does not encompass suffering caused by failure to act, but does create a duty of care under Article 9(A) which requires that any holder of an animal is responsible for keeping the animal ‘in proper physical and sanitary conditions, providing accommodation, food and shelter in suitable conditions according to their species, according to the regulations established by the World Organisation Animal Health (OIE) and the guidelines of the World Society for the Protection of Animals’ [now, World Animal Protection].
However, Law 18471 does not define ‘animal’, hence it is not clear whether the provisions extend to all vertebrates including fish and/or to any invertebrates.
Further explanatory detail on the provisions of Law 18471 is contained within the Decree 62/2014, which was repealed in 2017 by Decree 204/017.
Law 18471 furthermore creates an Honorary National Commission for Animal Welfare (CONAHOBA) in charge of receiving and processing complaints about acts of mistreatment and the abandonment of animals. The Commission can act on its own initiative and may require, where appropriate, the intervention of the Ministry of the Interior, as well as competent health and judicial authorities (Article 16). Since 2016, this Commission has been known as the Honorary National Commission for the Responsible Tenure and Welfare of Animals (COTRYBA).
However, since Law 18471 does not define ‘animal’, it is unclear to what species this legislation applies. Moreover, the legislation only regulates activities and conducts that involve the use of animals, with no implied mandates to improve welfare. The regulated conducts do not extend to suffering caused by a failure to act.
The exemptions for any conduct that fits with current livestock management practices mean that the law is not able to adapt to prohibit practices that are found to cause cruelty or stress to animals.
The current framework of animal protection needs further regulation in order to make implementation possible and to close current gaps in interpretation. In addition, the law does not forbid the slaughter of animals for religious practices.
It is positive that Law 18471 created the Honorary National Commission for the Responsible Tenure and Welfare of Animals (COTRYBA), in charge of processing complaints about animal mistreatment. However, seeing that livestock management practices are exempted from animal cruelty consideration, there are economic interests that prevent the improvement of animal welfare.
• Article 12 of Law 18471 prohibits abuse and cruelty to animals, but this does not extend to animal suffering caused by a failure to act. Therefore, the Government of Uruguay is strongly encouraged to amend Article 12 to include acts of negligence in the definition of animal cruelty.
• Article 12 of Law 18471 exempts from animal cruelty considerations of any livestock management practices considered ‘usual’. This creates a loophole in legislation, by which cruel forms of abuse in farming systems are exempted from the law. Therefore, the Government of Uruguay is urged to amend Article 12 to remove this exemption from the law.
Presence of animal welfare legislation
This goal explores animal protection laws in relation to various categories of animals, namely: farm animals, animals in captivity, companion animals, working animals and animals used for entertainment, animals used for scientific research and wild animals.
Protecting animals used in farming
Law 3606 on Animal Health Police constitutes the basic normative framework of all regulations related to animal health and public health. Its objective is to ensure the protection of livestock production with sanitary measures that prevent the introduction of exotic diseases.
Rearing - pigs
Rearing - broiler chickens
Rearing - egg-laying hens
Rearing - dairy cattle and calves
Resolution 152/012, enacted in 2012, incorporates slaughtering rules from the Council Directive EC No 1099/2009. Article 3 in the Directive states that animals shall be spared any ‘avoidable pain, distress or suffering during their killing and related operations’. Article 4 mandates that animals must be stunned prior to being slaughtered, and the loss of consciousness and sensibility shall be maintained until the death of the animal. Article 5 specifies that workers should check whether animals do not present any signs of consciousness in the period between the end of the stunning process and death. Annex I to this Directive lists all the stunning methods possible. Annex II sets out the requirements regarding the layout, construction and equipment of slaughterhouses.
Since the API was first published, Decree 195/18 was enacted in 2018, creating a control system for the slaughter of birds. The control system aims at monitoring the quantity and weight of the birds; there is no mention of animal welfare. The National Meat Institute (INAC) is in charge of implementing the provisions of this Decree.
With regards to animal transport, Decree 369/1983 does not contain any specific welfare provisions. Rather, the focus of the Decree is to ensure that meat products comply with sanitary requirements.
With regards to slaughter, it is regrettable that Uruguayan legislation still allows for the slaughtering of animals without prior stunning, in case of religious slaughter. Moreover, the implementation of the 2018 Decree 195 on the slaughter of birds is monitored by the National Meat Institute (INAC), whose Board is composed of industry representatives and producers. The mission of INAC is centred on promoting activities which ‘add value to the meat chain, improving its efficiency and competitiveness in the production, industrialisation, commercialisation, storage and transport systems’. The fact that animal welfare is not part of the responsibilities of INAC, which is in charge of monitoring slaughter rules for chickens, proves that there are structural barriers to improving the welfare of farm animals.
In addition, there are specific enforcement measures on animal transport, which include country guidance, government resolutions in which aspects of transport and slaughter are explained and a registry system to control animal movement. Furthermore, there are some financial and administrative sanctions derived from Regulation 152/012, which refers to the general public finance legislation in the country.
• Uruguay has extensive legislation on the transport and slaughter of animals, however, there is no primary or secondary legislation mandating welfare requirements for the rearing of farm animals. As such, the Government of Uruguay is urged to provide further regulations, with species-specific requirements, with regards to ensuring farm animals are reared in conditions that respect their Five Freedoms and in line with OIE animal welfare standards. Regular inspections onto farms and slaughter establishments should be carried out with a special focus on animal welfare.
• In addition, the Government of Uruguay is urged to ban the worst forms of confinement for farm animals. In particular, the use of farrowing crates, sow stalls, and cages should be banned. The stocking density of broiler chickens should also be reduced to a maximum of 30 kg/m2 or lower. Surgical operations, such as piglet mutilations and beak trimming for egg-laying hens, should not be performed except under anaesthesia and with analgesics.
• The Government of Uruguay is urged to mandate the humane slaughter of all farm animals. Animals should be instantaneously rendered unconscious and insensible to pain and distress prior to slaughter. Today, there is growing consensus amongst religious authorities worldwide that pre-slaughter stunning is compatible with religious principles. Humane halal slaughter allows for the animal to be temporarily rendered unconscious via stunning prior to slaughter, as long as the animal's skull remains intact and the animal would regain consciousness in time should slaughter not occur. Therefore, animals should be unconscious before being bled, and no further processing should occur until irreversible loss of consciousness is confirmed. No animal should be forced to witness other animals being slaughtered as this is inherently distressing.
• Legislation regarding the transport of animals should protect their Five Freedoms. Due to the significant animal welfare concerns associated with long distance transport, the Government of Uruguay is strongly urged to ban the export of live animals for long distances (i.e. over eight hours) and replace it with a meat only trade. Long distance transport is inherently cruel as it
Protecting animals in captivity
Article 6 of Law 18471 refers to animals kept in captivity, more precisely in ‘circuses, zoological gardens, recreational centres, shelters, nurseries, rehabilitation centres, shelters and training centres, public and private’. Article 6 establishes that these animals should be kept in conditions that meet ‘basic needs of health, care, space, environment, hygiene and food’ according to the species of the animals. Only specified species are permitted to be kept in captivity. There are no specific regulations detailing the minimum standards required by Article 6.
Moreover, Article 9 applies to all animal holders. Article 9(A) mandates that every animal holder should maintain the animal ‘in proper physical and sanitary conditions, providing accommodation, food and shelter in suitable conditions according to their species, as stated by the regulations established by the World Organisation Animal Health (OIE) and the guidelines of the World Society for the Protection of Animals’ [now, World Animal Protection]. Article 9(D) reiterates that every animal holder should provide treatment ‘appropriate to their species or race’ to animals. Moreover, Article 9(E) establishes that animal holders must allow access by the competent authority to control the legality of the animal’s possession; Article 9(G) states that animal holders must allow the review of the status of the animal, conditions and place of tenure by the National Honorary Animal Welfare Commission.
Private keeping of wild animals
Similarly, complementary measures in Law 16088 highlight issues on the possible damages to someone else’s property or injuries to other humans by irresponsible ownership or care of wild animals, but this legislation only includes a very basic provision with regards to the space requirements of the cage of the animal. It is positive that Law 16088 bans the private keeping of wild animals and states that private owners should surrender their wild animals. However, the term ‘wild animals’ is not explicitly defined: A Positive List of species would be helpful to better define which species can be kept as companion animals.
In relation to fur farming, the legislation provides that each farm shall be granted registration according to sanitary requirement, but no attention is paid to the welfare of the animals farmed. Furthermore, fur farming is inherently cruel and causes pain and distress to animals.
It is unclear, from the text of the legislation in existence, whether the Government has legal mechanisms to produce secondary regulation to clarify the principles and the gaps in the relevant laws. If this is not the case, the willingness of the Government to produce regulations based on the existing legal framework should be the starting point to improve the existing legislation in the country.
Having said that, since the API was first published, the Durazno zoo has re-opened in 2017, after renovation work that extended the zoo by 16 hectares. The decision to improve the zoo was made after a report was published from the Environment and Animal Welfare Centre, declaring that many animals presented signs of distress and loneliness. Such a report proves that there is some funding and human resources allocated to researching and improving the welfare standards of animals kept in zoos.
• Furthermore, the Government of Uruguay is encouraged to allocate human and financial resources to create an inspection unit in charge of verifying that welfare standards are respected where animals live in captive settings, such as zoos. Facilities where animals are kept captive should be regularly inspected, and the results of such inspections should be made public.
• To complement Law 16088 which currently bans the private keeping of wild animals, the Government of Uruguay is encouraged to develop a Positive List of species, specifying which animals can be kept as companion animals, based on clear criteria including animal welfare and other relevant concerns.
• The Government of Uruguay is urged to fully ban fur farming for all species, including minks. Fur farming is inherently cruel and causes pain, distress and suffering to animals.
Protecting companion animals
Care of companion animals
Article 8 of Law 18471 defines companion animals. As part of the definition, it says that these animals receive attention, protection, food and sanitary care from their owners or keepers. Article 9 presents some basic characteristics of responsible ownership, in order to prevent issues such as public nuisance and danger to others. In particular, Article 9(A) mandates that every animal holder should maintain the animal ‘in adequate physical and sanitary conditions, providing adequate food and shelter depending on the species, as well as in accordance with the OIE standards and guidelines established by World Animal Protection’. Article 9(D) reiterates that every animal holder should provide treatment ‘appropriate to their species or race’ to animals.
Article 10 contains some regulations on dangerous companion animals, among which dogs of ‘dangerous breeds’, mandating that the owner must take necessary precautions to reduce the risk of attacks. Such dogs are required to wear a muzzle, collar and a safety strap when on public roads.
Article 13 establishes that any person abandoning an animal will still be responsible for this animal and the damages that the animals may cause to third parties.
The Honorary National Commission for Animal Welfare (CONAHOBA), created by Article 14 of Law 18471, is in charge of limiting the breeding of companion animals through sterilisation, non-lethal means or through organising adoption campaigns. The Honorary National Zoonoses Commission is also authorised to contribute to campaigns aimed at controlling the overpopulation of domestic animals in the streets (Article 21). CONAHOBA is also capable of confiscating animals subject to abuse by their owners (Article 17(F)). All companion animals must be registered within the National Registry of Companion Animals (RENAC) (Article 18) and ‘Service Providers’ (i.e. shelters, breeders, walkers and trainers, pet stores, pet food marketing companies) also require registration. Since 2016, this Commission has been known as the Honorary National Commission for the Responsible Tenure and Welfare of Animals (COTRYBA).
Since 2017, Decree 204/2017 has replaced Decree 62/204. Decree 204/2017 expands on the criteria defining responsible pet ownership. Notably, Article 12 states that ‘responsible tenure’ implies that the Five Freedoms of animals as recognised by the OIE are ensured. Article 13 lists in more detail the responsibilities of owners towards their animals, namely, to provide sufficient shelter, food, healthcare, an ‘affective and appropriate treatment to their species and race’ and not to abandon them. Any loose animal without identification will be registered by RENAC and sterilised (Article 15).
Nevertheless, culling is still authorised when there is an epidemic or sanitary emergency. However, these terms are not precisely defined, which leaves a loophole in the law for protecting stray animals. Moreover, Decree 62/204, which was repealed in 2017 by Decree 204/2017, had provisions stating that healthy stray animals may not be killed unless they are aggressive and cannot be re-socialised. These provisions have not been transposed in the new Decree 204/2017.
Decree 62/204 also contained more precise provisions regulating the commercial breeding of dogs. Notably, Article 59 mandated puppies to remain with their mothers for at least 60 days. However, such a provision has not been transposed in the new Decree 204/2017. Overall, Decree 204/2017 is effective at detailing responsible ownership requirements for owners, but there are not many provisions relating to the welfare of stray animals.
The Government of Uruguay has improved the welfare of companion animals by creating the Honorary National Commission for Animal Welfare (CONAHOBA) – now known as the Honorary National Commission for the Responsible Tenure and Welfare of Animals (COTRYBA) – and the National Registry for Companion Animals (RENAC), in order to monitor numbers of companion animals. Other ‘Service Providers’ such as shelters, and breeders also need to be registered.
However, Law 18471 assigns no governmental budget to the functioning of CONAHOBA. The lack of funds has a direct implication on human resources capacity to address the needs of animal welfare. Chapter VII creates the ‘Animal Protection Fund’, however, it appears that the executive power is ‘exempted’ from payment. This Animal Protection Fund lists all the source of revenues for COTRYBA (e.g. the application of sanctions or fines) but there is no pledge from the Government to contribute financially to its activities; this represents a financial barrier to improving the welfare of companion animals.
Decree 204/2017 reiterates in Chapter VII that such sanctions are implemented by the Honorary National Commission for the Responsible Tenure and Welfare of Animals (COTRYBA). COTRYBA is in charge of conducting inspections to guarantee the responsible tenure and animal welfare (Article 27).
• The improvement of animal welfare standards for companion animals is hindered by the fact that the Government is not required by law to contribute financially to the activities of COTRYBA or RENAC. Therefore, the Government of Uruguay is encouraged to provide regular financial support to the Animal Protection Fund, to ensure that the activities and responsible pet ownership campaigns led by COTRYBA can be implemented.
• The Government of Uruguay is urged to amend Article 12(B)(4) of Law 18471 in order to forbid all culling of stray animals. The Government of Uruguay is strongly encouraged to promote humane stray animal population management, which relies on promoting responsible ownership, mass vaccinations and reproduction control programmes. Culling has been scientifically proven to be ineffective and should therefore be banned.
• The Government of Uruguay is encouraged to engage with the International Companion Animal Management (ICAM) Coalition to both inform and implement their dog population management methodology. This methodology consists of a full cycle of action, addressing the root causes of conflict between roaming dogs and communities. The document is helpful to governments to manage dogs humanely as well as to help communities to live in harmony with dogs.
Protecting animals used for draught and recreation
Animals used for entertainment
Moreover, Article 9 is applicable to animals kept for entertainment, since it applies to all animal holders. Article 9(A) mandates that every animal holder should maintain the animal ‘in proper physical and sanitary conditions, providing accommodation, food and shelter in suitable conditions according to their species, as stated in the regulations established by the World Organisation Animal Health (OIE) and the guidelines of the World Society for the Protection of Animals’ [now, World Animal Protection]. Article 9(D) reiterates that every animal holder should provide treatment ‘appropriate to their species or race’ to animals. Moreover, Article 9(E) establishes that animal holders must allow access by the competent authority to control the legality of the animal’s possession; Article 9(G) states that animal holders must allow the review of the status of the animal, conditions and place of tenure by the National Honorary Animal Welfare Commission.
Article 12 (J) explicitly prohibits bullfights, fights with heifers and other shows in which animals are killed. It is also forbidden to promote fights between animals (Article 12(G)), or to feed animals with other live animals, except if that is the only means of survival of the animal (Article 12(I)).
Moreover, Article 11 indicates that ‘public shows in which animals are used’ and during which ‘due to the activities, demonstrations and skills they perform, are in danger of suffering accidents risking their integrity’ must obtain veterinary care.
More detailed provisions relating specifically to this category of animals appeared in Decree 62/2014. Article 23 of Decree 62/2014 required that those conducting shows to the public involving animals must employ someone to oversee the welfare of the animals and register with the Animal Welfare Technical Group at least 72 hours in advance. Article 71 required that sporting events held for profit must be registered and animals used for sporting events must be certified as healthy by a veterinarian no more than 72 hours in advance. Article 99 of Decree 62/2014 required that those who own horses, whether for draught or for sport, should ensure the Five Freedoms are in line with OIE guidelines. Article 100 makes welfare-related rules including provision of adequate housing and shelter and allowing daily exercise. Articles 116 to 123 provided for the welfare of draught horses, including age limits and ambient temperature limits for work. Urban working horses are required to be registered. However, since Decree 204/017 repealed Decree 62/2014, none of these provisions have been transposed into the new Decree 204/2017.
Furthermore, greyhound racing appears to be increasingly popular in Uruguay, with approximately 3,000 dogs used in the industry. At present, the practice is not regulated by law. Legal proposals have been put forth by animal rights and welfare organisations to ban the practice and impose sanctions on betting-related activities.
However, since the many provisions relating to animals used in shows, sporting events, and for draught have not been transposed into the new Decree 204/2017, there is a clear lack of legal provision for this category of animals. Article 6 of Law 18471 provides only basic welfare provisions and Article 11 approves the use of animals in public shows, even if their bodily integrity is at risk, as long as animals receive veterinary care. Despite campaigns from animal welfare organisations to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, no such ban has been enacted. Furthermore, the fact that greyhound racing is currently not addressed in the law, it is a barrier to improving welfare legislation for animals used for entertainment. The ‘Galgo Libre UY’ campaign led by various animal protection organisations sheds light on the animal cruelty associated with the greyhound racing industry. Since the practice of greyhound racing has been outlawed in Argentina since 2016, it is reported that numerous breeders and racers have tried to export their business to Uruguay. This presents an additional barrier to improve the welfare of greyhounds.
However, since no legislation has been found on draught animals, there are no enforcement mechanisms associated with this category of animals.
• It is positive that Law 18471 prohibits both the organisation of fights in which animals are killed, and the promotion of animal fights. However, the law still allows public shows in which the bodily integrity of animals may be jeopardised. Therefore, the Government of Uruguay is urged to repeal Article 11 and ban all public shows which endanger the lives of animals.
• The Government of Uruguay is urged to forbid the organisation of, and attendance to, entertainment events causing animal suffering. Such a prohibition should cover circuses, rodeos, animal fights, animal races, rides on wild animals and all other forms of entertainment. Notably, the Government is strongly encouraged to ban the use of all animals in circuses. Phasing out of animals for entertainment purposes could start with a ban on the use of wild animals for such performances.
• In the same vein, the Government of Uruguay is urged to issue a nation-wide ban on breeding, training and racing of greyhounds. The Government should also issue a moratorium on the euthanasia of healthy dogs, regardless of whether they are too slow to race. Rehoming and adoption programmes should be encouraged.
Protecting animals used in scientific research
Following the enactment of Law 18471, Law 18611 was approved in 2009 to regulate the use of animals in research and education. The provisions of Law 18611 are wide-reaching and detailed but focus mostly on the activities and institutions authorised to perform animal experimentation, rather than on the welfare conditions or circumstances in which animals are used. There are no limitations as to which animals can be used. Article 4 creates the National Commission of Animal Experimentation (CNEA), chaired by the Minister of Education and Culture and made up of various ministries, scientists, a representative from the Chamber of Industries, and a representative from the animal protection organisation (Article 5). These members have ‘honorary character’ and are appointed for four years (Article 7). The CNEA is in charge of creating and monitoring the rules regarding the humane transport of animals for the experiment; advising the executive branch of government on the activities regulated by this law; implementing an accreditation system for anyone using animals for experiments; maintaining a record of the procedures used; applying sanctions; and establishing the rules for use and care of animals, which should be in line with ‘international conventions’ (Article 8).
Furthermore, any institution using animals for experiments should constitute, prior to its registration, an Ethics Committee on the Use of Animals (Article 9), made up of a veterinarian, a teacher and a representative of the local community (Article 10). Each Ethics Committee is in charge of enforcing the legal provisions at its facilities.
Article 15 specifies that experiments that may cause pain or distress should be done under anaesthesia; animals will be euthanised in accordance with the CNEA’s guidelines if the procedure caused ‘intense suffering’. Article 17 mandates that the number of animals used must be the ‘minimum necessary to produce a conclusive result.
The use of animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients does not appear to be restricted in Uruguayan legislation.
It is positive that every institution using animals for experiments should be registered under the CNEA, and that each facility has an Ethics Committee on the Use of Animals. Though animal protection organisations are represented at the CNEA, they are not part of any Ethics Committee.
Human resources seem to have been allocated to the implementation of legislation addressing the use of animals in research and education, since Law 18471 creates a National Commission for Animal Experimentation, which is formed by government representatives from various ministries. The Commission is presided over by the Ministry of Culture and Education and includes representatives from civil society, including the pharmaceutical industry and animal protection societies.
In addition, the legislation leaves open the possibility for the further development of civil sanctions. As the legislation basically regulates the activities and lists those institutions authorised to perform experiments or use animals in teaching modules, the mechanisms are relevant and specific to this regulation.
• The Government of Uruguay is urged to enact a ban on animal testing for cosmetics and their ingredients.
• The Government of Uruguay is encouraged to continue engaging with animal welfare organisations, for instance through CNEA which includes a representative from animal protection organisations, in order to promote alternatives to animal experiments. It is furthermore recommended that the Ethics Committees on the Use of Animals, which monitor the work of each institution conducting animal experiments, includes at least one representative of an animal protection organisation. Discussions with animal protection organisations should focus on developing alternatives to animal experimentation (the Replacement principle), as this is currently not well addressed in legislation.
Protecting the welfare of wild animals
Furthermore, there are specific regulations to hunting activities, as established by Law 9481 of 1935, which protects Indigenous Fauna. Article 3 contains a general prohibition on hunting, with the exception of species designated by the executive power and the National Commission for the Protection of the Indigenous Fauna, created in Article 4.
Several Decrees provide additional regulations to Law 9481. Notably, Decree 164/1996 prohibits the hunting, possession, transport, commercialisation and industrialisation of all wild zoological species and their existing products in the national territory and the destruction of their refuges, burrows, nests and its habitat in general (Article 1). It is prohibited to hunt indiscriminately at night from vehicles, with a firearm, within a radius of three kilometres of populated centres or rural schools, on public roads or without the consent of the owner of the property (Article 3). However, certain species can still be hunted: the list will be established by annual decree of the Executive Power based on the report of the Technician in the Directorate of Protected Areas of the General Directorate of Natural Renewable Resources of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (Article 11). Hunting of ‘globally protected species’ is made possible at the request of an ‘interested party’, if the species in question has caused damage to other wild species, to farms, crops or human beings (Article 12). The government body in charge of issuing hunting permits is the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries through the General Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources (Article 4).
Furthermore, Decree 119/998 authorises sport hunting for certain species including:
• Spotted Nothura (Nothura maculosa),
• Spot-winged Pigeon (Columba maculosa),
• White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata),
• Yellow-billed Pintail (Anas georgica),
• Rosy-billed Pochard (Netta peposaca),
• European Hare (Lepus capensis)
• Chital (Axis axis); males only.
Article 2 of Decree 165-1996 establishes the authorised quota of each species to be hunted, and the extension of the hunting season. This Decree establishes a list of animals that are not included in the hunting bans (including boars, pigeons and indigenous rodents) and requires, as a general procedure, to obtain permits for hunting in the country. It is not clear whether such permits contain any welfare-related restrictions or conditions.
Decree 357/989 regulates the sport and commercial hare hunting: a permit will be required for commercial hunting only.
In 2017, the state of Morelos adopted a new Wildlife Law, however, this Law does not contain any animal welfare provision. It should be highlighted, however, that animal protection organisations may assist the authorities with monitoring compliance with this conservation law (Article 14).
Wild animal regulation would benefit from an update to legislation and some effort into unifying different activities that have a direct negative impact on the welfare of wild animals. The lack of uniform parameters of protection is identified as a national constraint for the effective implementation of legislative and policy measures to protect wild animals. Since hunting is advertised as a reason for tourists to visit Uruguay, there may be socio-cultural barriers to improving the welfare of this category of animals.
Article 6 of Law 9481 establishes that infraction to this law will be punished with fines from US$100 to US$500.
Administrative sanctions for hunting activities fall short in protecting the animals which are the object of such activities and therefore do little to promote their welfare. Some attempts to provide enforcement mechanisms to national authorities (police and navy) can be found in the general legislation of national budget accounting (Law 16320/1992 ), but its application is not easily linked to legislation mentioned above. There are no guidelines, recommendations or publications for the Government which could easily educate the public on the course of action to be followed to guarantee wildlife protection.
Establishment of supportive government bodies
This goal examines government commitment to animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government to protect animals.
Government accountability for animal welfare
The Commission is made up of various Ministry representatives (Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and the Environment), a delegate from the Congress of Intendants, two university representatives and a representative from an animal protection organisation having legal status. The mandates of such members last for five years (Article 15). The Commission is responsible for, among others, advising the executive power on animal protection policies; informing the executive branch of international commitments concerning animal and ensure compliance with such commitments; carrying out research related to animal protection; processing complaints about animal abuse; controlling the number of pets in the country (Article 16). In addition, the Commission is responsible for applying Law 18471 and its possible sanction, as well as confiscating animal subject to cruelty. CONAHOBA is allowed to receive inheritances, donations and bequests (Article 17(E)), however, there is no mention of government budget allocated to the Commission.
Since the API was first published, Law 19355 of 2015 placed CONAHOBA under the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, rather than the Ministry of Education. Moreover, Decree 311 of 2016 renamed CONAHOBA the Honorary National Commission of Responsible Tenure and Animal Welfare (COTRYBA). Article 2 highlights that COTRYBA is in charge of two areas: regulations on companion animals and farm animals. Article 3 outlines that if the Commission does not have sufficient resources of its own, the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries will provide support. Article 4 creates Departmental Honorary Commissions for Responsible Tenure and Animal Welfare in four Ministries – the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Public Health, Departmental Intendancies.
The functions of COTRYBA are explained in more detail in Decree 204/2017. Article 26 outlines that COTRYBA will regulate the realisation of public shows with animals, the possession of potentially dangerous dogs, the reproduction, breeding and marketing of pets and the requirements for shelters, and any other activities related to the responsible tenure of animals and their welfare. Decree 248/2016 created the Advisory Council to COTRYBA, in charge of suggesting campaigns and advising the Commission on research projects.
Moreover, Law 18611, regulating the use of animals in research, creates a National Commission of Animal Experimentation (CNEA), chaired by the Minister of Education and Culture and made up of various ministries, scientists, a representative from the Chamber of Industries and a representative from the animal protection organisation (Article 5). These members have ‘honorary character’ and are appointed for four years (Article 7). However, there is no government budget specifically attributed to CNEA in legislation.
It is positive that the Honorary National Commission on Animal Welfare stimulates cooperation among different Ministries around animal welfare. Furthermore, the fact that the Commission has received numerous complaints over animal abuse proves that the public is aware of its existence and role. However, COTRYBA’s responsibilities are limited to the welfare of companion and farm animals, and hence do not contribute to mainstreaming the welfare of other categories of animals.
Article 8 of Decree 311/016 outlines that the provisions of Law 18471 will be ‘widely disseminated throughout the national territory, using all means deemed effective for this purpose’. The Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Education publish information about animal welfare on their websites, which shows the government’s willingness to consider this as an important issue.
Despite the numerous committees and commissions working on animal welfare, there is no legal provision ensuring consistent funding for such bodies. Article 3 of Decree 311/016 requires the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries to provide ‘support’ when COTRYBA does not have sufficient resources, however, no specific amount is mentioned.
Support for international animal welfare standards
This goal looks at whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, and whether the Government is supportive of the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
OIE animal welfare standards
Article 9(A) of Law 18471 mandates that every animal holder should maintain the animal ‘in proper physical and sanitary conditions, providing accommodation, food and shelter in suitable conditions according to their species, according to the regulations established by the World Organisation Animal Health (OIE) and the guidelines of the World Society for the Protection of Animals’ [now, World Animal Protection]. The OIE standards are also referenced in Decree 204/2017, since it defines the responsible tenure of animals according to the Five Freedoms of the OIE.
In regulatory terms, the Government of Uruguay has developed legislation covering most of the OIE’s animal welfare standards, but further specificity is needed to reach the overall level advised by the OIE. Examples of this can be found in legislation on stray dog population control, animals used in research, key aspects of the standards on transport of farm animals. Furthermore, the lack of regulations for animals used for draught, shows that OIE standards are not fully incorporated in Uruguayan legislation.
In partnership with the government of Chile, Uruguay has established an OIE Collaborating Centre for Animal Welfare Research, the only centre of its kind in South America, which is actively promoting animal welfare within the region.
The main obstacle for the promotion of animal welfare policy and legislation is the lack of financial resources. This remains the main obstacle for the full incorporation of the OIE’s standards and guiding principles into policy and legislation in the country.
• Furthermore, the Government of Uruguay is strongly encouraged to promote a more thorough application of the Three Rs principles, notably through the work of the Ethics Committee on the Use of Animals.
• It is positive that the Law 18471 and its implementing Decree 204/2017 uses the OIE standards for guidance to follow. The Government of Uruguay is encouraged to further implement the OIE animal welfare standards in the country’s legislation.
Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
Note: The UDAW is a proposed formal international acknowledgement 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.