Thousands demonstrate in Lisbon for “Justice” for animals
Image: Rui Minderico/ Lusa

Thousands demonstrate in Lisbon for “Justice” for animals

Law protecting pets from cruelty falls foul of constitution

Thousands of people converged on Lisbon for a second Saturday running, this time to demonstrate against the legal limbo of animal protection legislation.

Protesters waving banners emblazoned with “Justice”, “Shame” and “Punishment for animal mistreatment” were held high as the throng moved from Marques de Pombal square through the parliament.

Unlike the issues inflaming teachers who demonstrated en-masse last Saturday, these are much more likely to find ‘common ground’ rapidly. President Marcelo has already said this is an issue for which there is an “undisputable demand”; a value “which should be duly legislated”.

Writing on his official website today, Marcelo stressed that as there is a revision of the Portuguese Constitution underway, “parliament may address (the issue) in this context, just as the legislator, in ordinary legislation, may densify and strengthen the rules and sanctions applicable in the field of animal welfare.

Almost instantly, the country’s head of State received agreement from ruling PS Socialists.

Pedro Delgado Alves, vice-chairman of the party’s parliamentary bench, confirmed to Lusa news agency that his party will be focused during the constitutional revision on making the protection of animal welfare “perfectly clear to all”.

There will end up being “no room for doubt that the constitution enshrines and welcomes animal welfare in an express manner”, he pledged.

Anger and resentment at the way the 2014 law has been ‘kicked around’ in the courts  to the point that despicable cruelty has escaped the censures envisaged, boiled over last week after the Public Prosecutions Office requested that the Constitutional Court declare the clause that deals with criminalising gratuitous cruelty unconstitutional. The request followed three decisions by the court to this effect, explain reports (in other words, the Public Prosecutor, in its request, is powering the process for improvement to the law).

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