The proposal from a Chilean Foundation Vegetarianos Hoy to amend the constitution of Chile to consider non-human animals as sentient beings has been accepted by the Environment Commission of the Constitutional Convention (CC), so it can now be debated. The proposal, named #NoSonMuebles (they are not furniture) reached 25,854 signatures of support from Chilean citizens, becoming the most voted animal proposal in the Popular Participation Platform (which allows citizens to suggest changes in the Constitution). The acceptance by the Commission means that this will be one of the proposals to discuss when amendments to the Constitution would be debated. 

This proposal asks for the following: 1) Protection of animals as a duty of the State; 2) inclusion and protection of all animals, not just companion animals. 3) Protection according to the species and territory as criteria for the creation of public policies. 4) Recognition of animals as sentient beings.

Cristian Apiolaza, Legal Director of the Foundation Vegetarianos Hoy, said:The approval of our Popular Initiative for Standards is not only historic because it is the first to be approved in the Environment Commission of the Constitutional Convention, but also because of the incorporation and recognition of animals as sentient beings in the new Constitution is increasingly ever closer.”

The Commission split the proposal in two: seeking the recognition and incorporation of non-human animals as sentient beings in the Constitution and creating an organization that ensures the protection and welfare of animals. Both were approved, which means that they can now be debated in the Plenary, where the Deputies must decide whether to include them as final articles of the new Constitution.Camila Ahumada, Head of Advocacy of Vegetarianos Hoy, said: “From today we are already preparing ourselves with different activities for the next stage of discussion in the Plenary where we must obtain the support of two-thirds of the constituents, that is, at least 103 votes; and we believe that our Initiative has sufficient strengths to achieve this objective.”

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.