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Animal Welfare Laws Being Tightened in Hungary

Júlia Tar 2021.12.01.

Animal poisoning will be punished more severely, breeders will be prosecuted more severely, and participation in animal fights will be a criminal offense, as on Tuesday, Parliament adopted amendments to certain criminal laws necessary for the protection of animals, tabled by Fidesz MPs but supported by all political parties.

Compared to the current provisions of the Penal Code, the legislation expands the qualified cases of damage to nature, animal cruelty, and the organization of illegal animal fighting, state news agency MTI reports.

First Hungarian Animal Protection Code Completed
First Hungarian Animal Protection Code Completed

According to the Code, animals are living beings capable of feeling, suffering, and joy, and each animal is unique and unrepeatable.Continue reading

Here is what will change in the future:

  • A higher sentence of one to five years imprisonment may be imposed for the offenses of cruelty to animals by using poison or baiting to kill more than one animal, or for the offenses of cruelty to animals as a particular offender. This also means that even the preparation of placing poison or bait is punishable.
  • The scope of qualified cases of cruelty to animals has been extended to include committing cruelty to animals in public, cruelty to animals during a ban on keeping animals, and cruelty to animals within two years of organizing a prohibited animal fight or committing cruelty to animals.
  • Breeding has become a qualified case of animal cruelty, also punishable by one to five years imprisonment.
  • In addition to the organizers of animal fights, the participants will now also be punished by up to two years imprisonment for a misdemeanor.
  • In the case of an animal, the general steps for the execution of the confiscation (in particular, destruction) do not need to be carried out.

Hungary to Establish New Animal Protection Law
Hungary to Establish New Animal Protection Law

If the new law is adopted, it will for the first time allow for strong criminal action against breeders, and it will also provide for stricter sanctions and new qualifying cases for the criminal courts for offenses against animals.Continue reading

The proposal was adopted unanimously by 168 votes in favor. It was initiated by Fidesz parliamentary group leader Máté Kocsis and Péter Ovádi, the ministerial commissioner responsible for the renewal and implementation of the National Animal Protection Program. Most provisions of the law enter into effect on January 1st.

Animal welfare organizations have been involved in the drafting of the current bill and they took to Facebook to express their gratitude. For example, the Ant Community (Hangya Közösség), which is an umbrella organization for animal protection, which has been supporting the work of rural shelters and animal welfare organizations, wrote “Thank you for the opportunity to take part in this and for the unanimous vote!”

We have already reported about the topic when the law was still a proposal, as well as what happened in previous years leading up to the change, here.

Source: Telex

Featured image via Tamás Vasvári/MTI