Chile: Environmental Commission of the Constitutional Convention of Chile delivers draft proposal with a strong impact on animal protection and animal rights.

 <p>On February 13, the Commission on Environment,  Rights of Nature, Natural Commons and Economic Model of the Constitutional  Convention of Chile, concluded with the discussion and general voting of the  first block of popular and conventional initiatives related to issues such as  climate crisis, environment, rights of non-human life, environmental justice  and others. After this, a draft proposal was sent to  the plenary of the Convention for approval in general and subsequent discussion  of each norm i

*Written by José Binfa Álvarez, ICALP Researcher.

On February 13, the Commission on Environment, Rights of Nature, Natural Commons and Economic Model of the Constitutional Convention of Chile, concluded with the discussion and general voting of the first block of popular and conventional initiatives related to issues such as climate crisis, environment, rights of non-human life, environmental justice and others. After this, a draft proposal was sent to the plenary of the Convention for approval in general and subsequent discussion of each norm in particular.
The lengthy text of this draft document includes thirteen articles related to animals, divided into four titles entitled "Rights of Non-Human Animals", "Duties of State Protection", "Animal Coexistence" and "Animal Education". 

1. Rights of Non-Human Animals.
The delegates of the Environmental Commission have approved norms that recognize animals as subjects of rights, providing explicitly that "The State shall guarantee the protection and highest respect for all animals, in their capacity as sentient individuals, and recognizes the following rights: to live a life free of mistreatment and to the protection of their natural habitat and the non-extinction of their species". In addition, it orders that wildlife shall not be exhibited.
On the other hand, to promote and protect these rights, establishes a National Council for Animal Protection and a constitutional action "against illegal or arbitrary acts or omissions that deprive, disturb or threaten the rights of one or more animals, which will immediately adopt the measures it deems necessary to reestablish the rule of law and ensure their due protection".


2. State Protection Duty.
The Commission adopted that, in order to guarantee animal protection, the State shall legislate and take measures progressively in matters such as:

  1. Create a healthcare system that guarantees adequate and appropriate health for animals of all species;
  2. Implement education plans, from early ages to senior citizens, regarding the protection, respect and interaction with animals;
  3. Recognize the sentience and individuality of animals;
  4. Ban practices of cruelty to animals;
  5. Establish an autonomous organization with its own resources, of technical nature, to promote the protection, safeguard, and promotion of the animal welfare;
  6. To ensure a due care and protection of animals that are abused, mistreated, threatened or in danger of extinction;
  7. To protect the population and genetic variability of wildlife in order to guarantee their life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes;
  8. To guarantee the care and welfare of domestic animals, promoting practices free of abuse, cruelty, pain and suffering; and
  9. Promote the modification of dietary patterns based on animal suffering and death, as well as the promotion of a new food culture that does not involve harm, pain, suffering and death of animals.

3. Animal Coexistence.
The draft also includes provisions to guarantee judicial representation of the interests and rights of animals, through the rules of absolute incapacity of the Civil Code, in addition to designating as guardians those human persons responsible for the care, raising and life of the animals, as well as those persons who intercede in the protection and guarantees for them.


4. Animal Education. 
Lastly, an article is established to promote animal education that seeks to encourage respect for human rights, nonhuman rights and nature rights.

This draft proposal will be discussed in the plenary of the Convention, requiring 2/3 of its members (154) in order to begin the discussion in particular of each one of the norms that will integrate the draft of the new Constitution. In case of being rejected, the draft and its norms will be discussed again in the Environment Commission.
The Chilean constituent process will end on July 5, 2022, with the approval of a Constitution that must be ratified in a referendum called for that purpose, so the next few weeks will be loaded with discussion and negotiation to reach a consensual agreement on a new Magna Carta.

Click here to read the draft proposal of the Environment Commission (Spanish)

Related: Chile: Initiative to recognize animals as sentient beings will be discussed at Constitutional Convention

 

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