Promoting Animal Law in Peru

by | Nov 3, 2023 | Heartivist Of The Week

In Peru, people consume 53.35 kilograms of meat per person annually, World Population Review. 

“There is a lot of animal suffering in the world but people can’t see it because of their lack of education about it. The first step in promoting animal law is education,”  Marcia Condoy Truyenque, Founder of Derecho Animal en Perú.

We inhabit a world of immense beauty and filled with life. Besides the human kind, it is easy to find many other creatures coexisting along with us. And if we pay enough attention, we will notice that we are not that different from each other. From the tiniest ant to the biggest whale, besides our physical differences, we all have emotions and we all want to live and be free. Unfortunately, as humans many of us have forgotten to care and respect for other creatures and we often mistreat them, using them for our benefit. But as the Hindu pacifist, politician and lawyer, Mahatma Gandhi, once said: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” This is something that Marcia Condoy Truyenque has understood since she was a child and now it remains one of her main goals in life – to promote animal rights in Peru.

Marcia is a Peruvian attorney as well as an intelligent and enthusiastic woman who has shared her passion for animals with her sister, Vianca, since they were children. She remembers how her mother used to take her to a nearby farm to buy milk and she loved to visit all of the animals who became familiar figures during her childhood.

“Since I was very young, my parents taught me to love and care for animals. We always had dogs at home and I fed many of the stray dogs from my neighborhood in Cusco and took them into my backyard to play,” recalls Marcia. “My sister and I felt very close to animals because we saw their vulnerability and we wanted to be vegetarian for as long as I can remember. We have been doing activism for animal rights since we were very young; we would protest against circuses with animals. Later on, we discovered veganism and we became vegan when I was 18 and she was 14 years old. Now all of our family is vegan because of us and my sister owns a vegan restaurant in Cusco called Parada Vegana.” 

Marcia studied law at the Universidad Andina del Cusco in Cusco, Peru and, in 2017, she came up with the idea to create an organization to promote veganism. So, along with 4 other friends, Marcia founded “Ayllu Vegano” which means vegan brotherhood in a mixture of Quechua and Spanish languages. Ayllu Vegano taught several food workshops and showcased movies as the organization grew to 30 members.

By 2020, Marcia designed a project and was able to open an Animal Law area in Preston Law Firm, where she works as an associate. This became the first law firm in Peru with a specialized area in Animal Law where she has led lawsuits with animals as the plaintiffs. But this was just the beginning of the road for Marcia as she would pursue a master’s degree in Animal Law soon after.

Learning the Laws Which Protect Animals

From 2021 to 2022, with a full commitment to advocating for animals rights and welfare, Marcia pursued her master’s degree in Animal Law at the Lewis and Clark University in Portland, Oregon located in the USA where she graduated with honors.

“When I finished college, I decided to study a master’s degree abroad and I thought about making it in International Law or Human Rights but fortunately I found out that there was a master’s degree in Animal Law and for the first time in my life I realized that I could do something life changing for animals through my career,” explains Marcia.

“After I finished my master´s degree, I decided to create Derecho Animal en Perú (Animal Law in Peru),” says Marcia. “Our mission is to promote animal law through seminars with Spanish speaking academics from Latin America to teach law students that there is such a thing as Animal Law. We also make information campaigns and if there is news about animals, we try to explain them through the perspective of the law in our social media. Our website also contains the first compilation of Peruvian jurisprudence and laws related to the legal protection of animals, as well as news and blogs and selected readings from the legal and academic point of view of animal law.”

Animal Consumption in Peru 

The Asociación para el Rescate y Bienestar de los Animales (Association for the Rescue and Wellbeing of Animals) in Peru has created a series of 14 videos from 2020 to 2023 exposing the cruelty to which animals such as trouts, chickens, pigs, guinea pigs and horses are subjected to in order to become products for human consumption. In these investigations, they record the cruel confinement in which they live. These animals are in tiny spaces, deprived of movement and living in unhealthy conditions while being filled with antibiotics, and treated with violence and neglect as if they were non-sentient objects.

On the other hand, PETA also published an undercover investigation illustrating through video and imagery how alpacas are violently sheared while workers hit and even sew, without even using any type of painkillers, the cuts they inflict on them during the process at Mallkini, Peru, which is the biggest, privately owned alpaca farm.

Unfortunately, the rate at which we consume animals has only increased throughout the years. In fact, only in Peru, people consume 53.35 kilograms of animal meat per person annually, with chicken being the most consumed meat at 42.69 kilograms per person annually, according to World Population Review. 

According to the Anuario estadístico Producción Ganadera y Agrícola 2020 del Ministerio de Desarrollo Agrario y Riego de Perú, in 2020, Peru produced: 1,723,497 tons of poultry meat, 32,311 tons of ovine meat, 169,805 tons of pig meat, 183,941 tons of bovine meat, 4,957 tons of goat meat, 12,363 tons of alpaca meat and 3,818 tons of llama meat. In the same year, Peru produced: 497,525 tons of eggs, 2,135,881 tons of fresh milk, 4,352 tons of alpaca fiber, 665 tons of llama fiber and 7,466 tons of wool.

This rate of animal consumption is not expected to decrease in the coming years. Actually, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in its report World Livestock 2011 indicated that from 1967 to 2007 the sheep and goat meat consumption increased by 202%, the poultry consumption increased by 711%, the milk consumption grew 178%, the egg consumption grew 353%, the beef and buffalo meat consumption increased 180% and the pig meat consumption grew 294%.

And the predictions from the report World Livestock 2011 is that the growth of consumption from 2010 to 2050 will increase by 158% for bovine meat, 178% for ovine meat, 137% for pig meat, 225% for poultry meat and 158% for dairy not butter.

Promoting Animal Law in Peru

Marcia decided to create the first course specialized on Peruvian Animal Law as part of her work at Derecho Animal en Perú.

“As the first Peruvian animal lawyer specialized, my first step to train lawyers, officials, and every Peruvian interested in Animal Law,” explains Marcia. “I decided to create an asynchronous online Animal Law course. This course will be uploaded on YouTube and the website of Derecho Animal en Perú, thus, everyone will be able to learn about animals in the law and their legal protection. The target population is primary attorneys, law students, law professors, judges, prosecutors, police, and justice administrators practicing in Peru. Nevertheless, it is expected that everyone with interest will be able to understand the videos.”

The course will be composed of 12 videos which will be 30 minutes in lenght, where Marcia will provide information in the areas of: legal status of animals, rights theory, constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, property law, multispecies family, wildlife, fisheries, international law and other emerging topics; with direct links to complementary readings.

“The content of the course will be based on national and foreign animal literature, case law, and legislation. The approach will be based on animal rights theory and legal theory,” explains Marcia. 

Derecho Animal en Perú is the first Peruvian organization of its kind because Animal Law is yet an unknown area in the country.

“I consider that an asynchronous online course is necessary because many attorneys, law students, law professors, judges, prosecutors, police, and other officials are eager to learn about how to effectively protect animals within the law,” says Marcia. “It is very inspirational for me to teach a course, because becoming a law professor is one of my biggest professional dreams. Indeed, one of the objectives of Derecho Animal en Perú is to promote Peruvian Universities to open Animal Law courses in their law schools. I would be really honored if I achieve to become the first professor of animal law in my country.”

Making Dreams Come True

In order to make this project possible, Marcia got funding from the Culture and Animals Foundation and in turn, they referred her to The Pollination Project to obtain the rest of the funding required for this important endeavor. 

“Culture and Animals Foundation and other friends from my masters courses already knew the work that The Pollination Project does and they recommended me to apply,” says Marcia. “I was so happy when I received the news about the seed funding because I felt that there was real support for my ideas and that I could make my dreams come true.”

Some of the Animal Rights that Marcia would like to turn into law in Peru are: regulations for the wellbeing of farm animals, laws to effectively protect the wildlife from trafficking, extended laws for marine life conservation, the enforcement of the prohibition of animal experimentation at universities and the promotion of different cultural activities that can substitute bullfighting and cockfights.

“I am a very sensitive person, and for me it is very difficult to face the world because I can recognize cruelty towards animals and it happens very often,” says Marcia. However, with her knowledge and efforts, she aims to make a positive difference in the lives of animals in her country, so that people can see them as individuals with the same right to live and be free as us.

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