Bishop Bernardo Bastres of Punta Arenas, Chile complained this week that dogs have more legal protection than the rights of human beings.
His statements came as the city of Punta Arenas is dealing with a plague of street dogs that have become a potential health problem. City officials have been hesitant to address the problem, worried that their actions might be considered “insensitive” to animals.
“Right now a dog has more rights than a person,” Bishop Bastres said. He criticized the government for legalizing the morning-after pill and for taking other anti-life measures while refusing to do something to address the plague of street dogs.
“This is inconsistent, since issues that are related to the lives of people deserve to be supported and discussed in Congress, because they have to do with the regulation of births in the country, and not with the rights of animals,” he added.
The bishop recalled that when the Chilean bishops opposed the government’s norm forcing the distribution of the abortion pill, the Ministry of Health called the measure “a norm for the common good.”
“However, with the problem that we have with the excess of dogs, no norm is issued. Rather we are told we have to wait for a new law,” the bishop added. “That is, in practice what they are telling us is that a dog is more important than protecting the life of a human being,” he stated.
“Things are definitely changing,” the bishop went on, “when we dictate norms for human beings and laws for dogs.”
He stressed that the Ministry of Health has the duty to take action to protect the public health from the problem of too many dogs. “Dogs without owners must be sacrificed,” the bishop said, adding that “ten years will go by before there is a law on dogs.”