LIFESTYLE

Spanish town is going to the dogs: Council grants pets same rights as humans

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Collie cross Tiff (2nd left), a five-month-old homeless rescue dog joins Collie dogs Holly (L) Frostie and Jimmy (R) who are competing at Crufts 2013 and have all come from Valgrays Border Collie Rescue Centre during a photocall to launch Crufts 2013 on March 5, 2013 in Birmingham, England. During this year's four-day competition over 22,000 dogs and their owners will vie for a variety of accolades but ultimately seeking the coveted 'Best In Show'.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Collie cross Tiff (2nd left), a five-month-old homeless rescue dog joins Collie dogs Holly (L) Frostie and Jimmy (R) who are competing at Crufts 2013 and have all come from Valgrays Border Collie Rescue Centre during a photocall to launch Crufts 2013 on March 5, 2013 in Birmingham, England. During this year's four-day competition over 22,000 dogs and their owners will vie for a variety of accolades but ultimately seeking the coveted 'Best In Show'. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)  (2013 Getty Images)

Obviously, the people of the tiny Spanish hamlet of Trigueros del Valle have not read George Orwell's seminal novella "Animal Farm" or they probably would have mulled this over more.

The town, whose population is only about 330, unanimously voted in favor of one very unusual act – to guarantee the town's dogs and cats the same rights as its two-legged citizens.

"Dogs and cats have been living among us for over a thousand years," Pedro J Pérez Espinosa, the town's mayor said, according to the Independent. "And the mayor must represent not just the human residents but must also be here for the others."

The so-called Renedo Declaration was approved unanimously by the town's council during a plenary session on Monday and is comprised of 13 articles, which  including statements such as "all residents are born equal and have the same right to existence" and "a resident, whether human or non-human, is entitled to respect."

The animal bill of rights also outlines basic tents against animal cruelty such as article 9a, which states: "No non-human resident should be exploited for the pleasure or recreation of man."

Article 6b of the law also states: "The abandonment of a non-human resident is a cruel and degrading act."

In a country famed for its bullfights, the move to grant pets the same rights as humans seems radical, but it was widely praised across the country by animal charities.

"This is a great day for humans and non-human citizens alike," the Spanish animal rights group, Rescate 1, said in a statement, according to the Local. "Today, we are closer as species and we are now more human thanks to the sensitivity and intelligence shown by the people of Trigueros del Valle,"

The new law in Spain comes as U.S. animal rights activists are fighting to get greater recognition for chimpanzees. In a landmark ruling this May, a court ruled that four chimps who live in a laboratory cannot be treated as property, but instead must be regarded as legal persons.

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