To be discussed in parliament, a petition needs a minimum of 7,500 signatures, which is why the organising committee of the petition believes that it is "certain" that this "will be discussed very soon" in the Assembly of the Republic.
The petition gathered 12,000 signatures in just 36 hours and more than 90,000 in just one month, according to the statement.
“The petitioners appeal to the Constitutional Court to promote an ethical and up-to-date interpretation of our fundamental law, including the protection of animals, and to the Assembly of the Republic to extend criminal protection to sentient animals, not just companion animals, which improve the rules in force and include the express reference to animals in the text of the Constitution”.
The citizens' request comes after the Constitutional Court declared on three occasions that the current law was unconstitutional. The question of the unconstitutionality of the norm that criminalises with a fine or imprisonment anyone who, without legitimate reason, kills or mistreats pets is being analysed once again at the request of the Public Ministry.
The signatories of the request declare themselves dissatisfied with the “inertia of the constituted powers”, adding that they understand that “those who mistreat must be punished”.
According to the statement, in addition to the petition, “a manifesto will also be delivered to the Assembly of the Republic and Parliamentary Groups, in which more than 40 leading personalities in the area of law in Portugal and more than 50 associations and movements, call for the maintenance of criminal protection which protects companion animals, guaranteeing the effective 'construction of a free and fair society', including animals”.
On January 21, thousands of people demonstrated in Lisbon, against the possibility of the law that criminalises the mistreatment of animals to be declared unconstitutional.
On the same day, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, defended that animal welfare should be “duly legislated”, recalling that parliament could do so either “through ordinary legislation” or through the constitutional revision process that It's in progress.