Spotlight Mexico: You Don't Have to Be a Lawyer to Affect Change

Almost every time anyone thinks about legislation, they think about reading complicated documents only lawyers can understand. But in reality, you don't have to be a lawyer to work to improve legislation that can make huge difference and positive changes in a community, and I am an example of that! Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of good news in regards to ensuring the creation and enforcement of laws for animal welfare and protection for in Mexico.

And today I'm happy to share some good news about animal welfare legislation in the state of Quintana Roo, an area that includes Playa del Carmen and Cozumel - two communities with International Fund for Animal Welfare projects, where IFAW has been working for the past year with key players in the development and improvement of laws to better protect animals. On March 2010, the Animal Welfare and Protection Law of the State of Quintana Roo was published. This law says that each municipality needs to write their own regulation for the Law during the 180 days after it was published.

Time passed by but now the municipality of Solidaridad (which affects Playa del Carmen) has completed their regulations. On September 27th all of the municipality’s government leaders voted to approve the new regulation by unanimous vote. Now this document only needs to be presented in the Official Municipal News Paper to make it official. With this regulation (and the creation of the State’s Agency in charge of the enforcement of the State’s Law), animals will not only be better legally protected but there will now be an established legal framework to apply to the State's Law penalizing cases of cruelty. In addition, it considers that the State will promote in all the instances, whether it be public or private, the acknowledgement of the ethical, cultural and environmental importance that Animal Welfare represents.

The promotion of Adequate Guardianship of dogs and cats (including spay and neuter), promotion of adoption, prohibition of mistreatment, and punishment of neglect are some of the most important considerations this regulation states. Joaquin de la Torre and I were not only present at the municipal meetings, we put hours and hours of research and thought into this legislation. We worked closely with the College of Veterinarians of the State of Quintana Roo, with whom we worked together providing technical arguments and advice, so that this regulation could really work to help animals, and not just look good in paper. This is a big step forward to change things in a positive way, still there is lots of work that needs to be done and the biggest challenge is to make sure that the laws and regulations are to be followed by educating the citizens and ensuring that when the laws are not followed the protection of animals will be enforced. So far this looks like there is hope on the horizon. -- EF

Comments: 4

5 years ago

I am an American, new to living in Q-Roo. I am apalled at the tourists that allow themselves to be photographed with a captured 'wild' animal such as the baby jungle cats and spider monkeys that ones sees along 5th Ave in Playa del Carmen. What can be done to put a complete stop to this practice and educate the local populace that this sort of commerce is indeed misguided to say the least.

6 years ago

Hello Marjorie, thank you for your comments. Unfortunately this legislation I am talking about is only for a specific Municipality in the State of Quintana Roo, part of the Caribbean we hope to achieve a broader impact with improvements to the State’s Law in the near future. It is true that Mexican legislation regarding animal welfare is beginning to arise not as fast as the animals need it though but at least is a change that is happening. In your specific case maybe there is something we could suggest. Would you like to write me personally so we can talk about it with more detail? My email: Thank you Marjorie for all your efforts with burros!

6 years ago

Great news Erika, well done!

6 years ago

I applaud the efforts being made on behalf of the animals in Mexico! It will ultimately enrich the lives of all Mexican citizens to see the animals in their lives treated with respect. This is an attitude that will flow both ways. Dr. Flores, it is my deepest hope that your desire to help animals includes the sagacious burro! I am the founder of a group called the Wild Burro Protection League. When I discovered that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has decided to kill ALL of the burros who enter the Big Bend Ranch State Park, I became active. Along with my co-founder Karen Van Atta we have developed a group that is focused on keeping this from happening. It is our understanding that Big Bend Ranch State Park falls inside the Chihuahuan desert biosphere, which will be the future home of the International Peace Park. These burros have been following their ancestral route back and forth across the river for almost 500 years. As a returned North American native that has given so much to humankind, it is very hard to realize that people could even consider such barbaric and shortsighted assaults on a peace species. Would you consider supporting our efforts to save these remarkable animals from being completely annihilated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department? Our group has also learned that Mexico is suffering from a shortage of burros. This is a global trend, and whether people want to accept it our not. The burro is the target of bias, and is losing ground every day. I do not want to see the day come when they are no more. But, sadly it is a real possibility.

Post a comment


Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters