Presidencia vows support for animal bill

The central government has promised  to push an animal protection bill in the legislature. That government promise was contained in a summary of actions that have been or are being taken to help animals.

There is a growing wave of public support for the bill, No. 18298, particularly after the widely publicized case of a dog named Duke who was slashed with a machete across the nose. The gash has been stitched up during an operation, and the dog has been the subject of several adoption requests, in part thanks to television coverage.

However, as Casa Presidencial noted, the animal bill has been held up in the Comisión de Ambiente since 2014. If the bill does not reach a vote during the current ordinary session of the legislature, the government has promised to put it on a priority list during the time when the executive branch sets the agenda.

The bill has been mired in discussions over the status of cock fights, which some lawmakers consider to be a national tradition. Also of concern are those bull baitings that take place at most large festivals including the Zapote Christmas fair. The degree of penalties also is a concern for some,

There are economic considerations, too, because betting is a big part of cock fights and the bull-baitings are big attractions on the television.

The government said that the concept of animal welfare is being included in the public school curriculum, both in elementary and secondary

An animal rescue team has been formed as a result of the Volcán Turrialba eruptions, it said, adding that the team is doing castrations, providing food and relocating animals.

Students at the national police school will be getting animal welfare information, said the government.

Also cited was a pilot project that will involve local governments in education about animals and sterilization.

The Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal  is training regional directors in animal welfare, said the summary.

The  Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes  and the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad have begun installing warnings signs on roadways through national parks and protected areas to alert motorist to the presence of animals.

Supporters of the bill have demonstrated several times at the legislature.

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