A Spanish town has become the first in the country to recognize dogs and cats as “non-human residents” and awarding them equal rights to those of their human co-residents.
Pedro J. Pérez Espinosa, the socialist mayor of Trigueros del Valle, with a population of just 300, in the Castilla y León province of Valladolid, introduced the Renedo Declaration to enshrine the rights of dogs and cats as citizens of the town. Speaking after the measure was voted on Monday, he said:
Dogs and cats have been living among us for over a thousand years. And the mayor must represent not just the human residents but must also be here for the others.
1. Cats and dogs have been declared as “non-human residents” following a vote in the Spanish town of Trigueros del Valle (photo: Wikimedia).
2. Built in the 14th century, little is known about Trigueros del Valle’s impressive castle (photo: Wikipedia).
The animal bill of rights has been approved unanimously by the new town council. It consists of 13 articles, which make statements such as “all residents are born equal and have the same right to existence” and “a resident, whether human or non-human, is entitled to respect”.
The bill also sets basic rules against cruelty to animals such as Article 9a which states:
No non-human resident should be exploited for the pleasure or recreation of man.
And Article 6b states that “the abandonment of a non-human resident is a cruel and degrading act”.
3. The new animal rights act in the Spanish town will effectively rule out the staging of bullfighting in the town (photo: Wikimedia).
4. Some government figures in Madrid have been trying to get bullfighting recognized as part of Spain’s heritage and reward it with tax exemptions (photo: Wikimedia).
Yet, the main reason behind the animal rights bill in Trigueros seems to be to ban bullfighting rather than concerns about the rights of popular pets like cats and dogs.
The bill clearly bans bullfighting in the town — it prohibits “any action that causes the mutilation or death of a non-human resident”.
Animal rights activists have praised the move and said they hoped it would be adopted across the country. A statement from animal rights NGO, Rescate 1, read, in part:
This is a great day for humans and non-human citizens alike.
Today, we are closer as species and we are now more human thanks to the sensitivity and intelligence shown by the people of Trigueros del Valle.
5. A star matador is gored at the San Isidro Bullfight Festival in Madrid, Spain (story here).
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