Protesters call for tougher sentencing for animal abuse

February 20, 2016

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Chanting “enough” and “prison for animal abuses”, thousands of Hungarians marched on parliament today to demand the enforcement of animal protection laws and stricter sentencing for animal abuse in the form of jail time.

The criminal code of Hungary prescribes up to 3 years imprisonment for animal abuse.  However, in practice courts rarely sentence offenders to jail.

Over 100 organizations participated in Saturday’s “Together for a common matter!  Together against animal abuse!” demonstration in front of parliament.

“Up to this point we have never taken to the streets with such agreement, but now we feel the time has come for our voices to be heard!  Enough of such people always escaping punishment!  We demand that every abused animal receive the legal protection that is written in the animal protection law, and that every animal abuser be punished for his deeds,” said one of the speakers, referring to the son of a deputy mayor who was filmed beating a dog to death with a baseball bat, but never imprisoned.

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The crowd marched from the Nyugati (Western) station to the Kossuth square, carrying pictures of abused animals and signs saying “He who does not respect the small deserves prison”, “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”,  “Prison for animal abuses” and “Teach your children to protect animals”. The master of ceremonies stated at the beginning that, in addition to calling the government’s attention to the problem, demonstrators had brought with them the draft of a bill modifying the animal protection law which they intended to deliver to parliamentary president László Kövér. The bill proposes that the maximum sentence be increased from two to three years, and in extreme cases from three to five years in order for the law to have a deterrent effect.

In addition they demanded that the existing law be enforced more strictly.

Various speakers offered accounts of animal abuse, saying that whoever is capable of doing so is also capable of abusing human beings.  “A lack of empathy is dangerous to society,” said one animal protection organization member.

Among the demonstrators was Jobbik president Gábor Vona, Hungarian strong man László Fekete, strong woman Ica Biró and singers Vera Tóth and Gabi Tóth.