The Uruguayan government has issued a new decree for law 18.741 to protect animals from abuse.

From now on animals in Uruguay are entitled to the 5 basic freedoms: freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, suffering and disease, freedom from fear and distress, and freedom to express normal behaviour.

The decree, which was unanimously approved, establishes a fine of 700 to 340.000 Uruguayan pesos to whoever physically mistreats a pet or abandons it without giving notice to the National Honorary Committee on Animal Welfare (Conahoba), and sentences of 2 to 24 months in prison to whoever kills a pet or working animal with ‘severe cruelty’.

The law exempts cases where the animal dies as a result of the use of pesticides, the animal is considered a national plague or it was deliberately killed to feed another animal that needed it to survive.

Pets must be registered within 15 days of being born, bought or adopted. Owners must also notify the registry when the pet dies.

Pets must only be transported inside the vehicle cabin in appropriate containers or tied to avoid their free movement inside the vehicle.

The owner of the animal will be fully responsible for any bite, injury or damage the animal causes to people, animals or property of others, except when the victim trespassed the premises where the animal lives.

If something should happen when the animal is momentarily under the care of another person, such as walkers or trainers, the responsibility will be equally shared.

All dogs must wear proper identification when on a walk. Any lost animal without proper identification can be captured and neutered.

Dogs must never breed before 12 months of age and never with close relatives, such as parents with children or among siblings. Puppies must stay with their mother for at least 60 days.

Racing horses must never spend more than 8 consecutive hours inside their trailer.

Only reins may be used with a working horse and it must not be left alone for more than 10 hours during work days and it must not be left tied down.

The new law also addresses the use of animals in circuses and zoos and the infamous horse-drawn carts that can be seen throughout the country.

Circuses which include animal performances in their shows will no longer be allowed to settle anywhere in the country.

Zoos will not be allowed to incorporate exotic animals or ‘incorporate, create or keep hybrids with wild animals’, and current residents must be provided with a habitat that feels natural to each species. Institutions will be given 365 days to adapt to the new rules.

People currently working with horse-drawn carts will also have to meet some new criteria. Horses must be trained before their first day of work. Horses must not be used when the weather is 32 degrees or over and must wear a hat or be provided with shade when the weather is 25 degrees or over. Horses will need to be properly shoed and must not carry more than an obvious adequate amount.

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  • Travis J

    Latin american countries are on the lead. Well done

  • Selina Collard

    Please let me know of a Jack Russell named Nick who had on his feet his limbs were cut off and he look so sad in pain and suffering and the owners I hope they went to prison this happened in Urguay please tell me he was rescued please tell me that he was rescued I felt his indescribable pain and hopelessness Nick is an Innocent Animal at the hands of Evil & Ruthless owners I hope that they went to jail how can anyone do this to a tiny animal abhorrent behaviour they will be sorely punished for the inhumane treatment and abuse of Innocent animals we are sick of Evil humans hurting innocent animals please put them in prison you wonder how they treat their own families and anyone else

  • Michele Vernet


  • Frida Nyberg

    Looks like I’m not going to Uruguay… some things here are good but some (like banning circuses and zoos) are downright bizarre and ridiculous.