FOR A NEW CONSTITUTION AND CIVIL CODE THAT RECOGNIZES NON-HUMAN ANIMALS AS SENTIENT INDIVIDUALS
1. The Chilean Constitution (1980) does not recognize or include non-human animals among its provisions.
2. The Chilean Civil Code (1855) is the systematized body of private law that regulates the relationship between individuals. The Civil Code defines non-human animals as «movable property.» In other words, it defines non-human animals as appropriable things, like a car, book, or chair. Hence, the Civil Code allows people to exercise their property rights over non-human animals as it allows people to exercise property rights over inanimate objects.
3. Chilean citizens are witnessing a historic moment as most voters decided on October 25, 2020, on drafting a new Constitution for the country. Consequently, an ongoing constitutional process has prompted the debate on including non-human animals in the new Constitution.
4. Thanks to increasingly extensive scientific research, it is publicly known that thousands of non-human animal species possess subjective experiences, having the ability to experience pleasure, pain, fear, and happiness, among other emotions. In the words of renowned neuroscientists that signed the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness (2012), evidence indicates that non-human animals possess the neurological substrates that generate consciousness and the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors.
5. Accordingly, Fundación Vegetarianos Hoy has been working relentlessly since 2015 to change non-human animals’ legal status in Chile. These legal changes have generated resistance from some groups against improving animal protection. Therefore, we need the support of thousands of people worldwide to urge the Constitutional Convention into including non-human animals in the new Constitution and Congress into amending the Civil Code.
IN SUM, WE REQUEST THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION AND CONGRESS TO RECOGNIZE NON-HUMAN ANIMALS AS SENTIENT INDIVIDUALS IN THE NEW CONSTITUTION AND THE CIVIL CODE SO THAT NON-HUMAN ANIMALS MAY BE ENTITLED TO A LEGAL STATUS THAT RECOGNIZES THEIR SPECIAL NATURE AND PROTECTS THEM EFFICIENTLY.