MADRID – Spain is moving towards passing the country’s first real animal welfare law. It is a long and contentious process in which the law was passed by the Council of Ministers after various amendments. Another step will be needed before “Ley de Bienestar Animal” becomes a reality in Spain and the lives of animals must be improved. Below we report on some future measures.
Spanish coalition government Made up of PSOE and Unidas-Podemos want a better life for animals, especially pets. This is why the Ministerio de Derechos Sociales y . 2030 Agenda exists Already in October 2021 he introduced the “Ley de Bienestar Animal” which contains many measures to protect and improve the welfare of animals in general and pets in particular.
After a long delay and various negotiations, the very comprehensive bill passed last Monday during the Cabinet meeting but has yet to pass in Congress and the Senate, so changes are still possible. We describe some particularly striking measures in this new animal welfare law. However, the bill is not about “thoromakoya” or bullfighting and animal husbandry.
The ‘Ley de Bienestar Animal’ or Animal Welfare Act was already introduced in October 2021 by the Directorate General of Animal Rights and the 2030 Agenda Ministerio de Derechos Sociales y, but was partially blocked by the Ministry of Agriculture. The reason was hunting dogs and hunting dogs that are used professionally, for example, for raising livestock, such as sheep, etc. In the end, negotiations were held and it was decided to include these dogs in the Animal Welfare Act. But for these dogs there are some exceptions such as mandatory training and not being allowed to be left alone for more than 24 hours due to the special circumstances of these dogs.
What is striking about this new law is that the penalties for mistreatment that result in the death of animals have been extended to 24 months (2 years), while mistreatment of animals without resulting in death but requiring medical assistance can result in an 18-month prison sentence. In either case, convicts are not allowed any contact with animals for five years, so that animal abusers cannot release them. This concerns not only pets such as dogs and cats, but all animals.
Euthanasia is prohibited
The final adoption of the law also prohibits euthanasia of dogs and cats in animal shelters, only in special cases of illness and age, but always if approved by veterinarians. This is also known as “sacrificio cero”.
It is forbidden to sell shops
And because the government is also striving to “give up zero”, it wants to combat impulsive purchases of pets by banning the sale and display of animals in stores. Sterilization is required for animals that live in open spaces and interact with other animals of the same species and of different sexes.
Pets can only be sold in Spain if they come from official and registered breeders. So breeding must become a professional business and that breeding is at home and the sale of pets online is no longer allowed. Fines can be up to 600,000 euros.
No scenes and shows
Zoos and dolphins in Spain are not allowed to breed or acquire new animals under the new law. This is only allowed for endangered species. Cruelty to animals should also be avoided in pilgrimages, processions, and other traditional activities that involve animals. Wild animal circuses have been banned throughout Spain (and no longer just at the regional level). However, the bill is not related to “tauromaquia” or bullfighting.
The list of potentially dangerous dogs will disappear. Dogs are no longer evaluated for each breed, but individually for risk. For now, these are the PPP dogs (Perros Potencialmente Peligrosos) in Spain: Pitbull Terrier; Staffordshire bull terrier; American Staffodshire Terrier; Rottweiler. Argentine Dogo Villa Brasileiro Tosa Inu Akita Inu. In addition, some characteristics and behavior are also examined.
Of course the dog
The new Animal Welfare Act aims for responsible handling of pets and new dog owners must follow an (online) course on the care and attention animals need. In this way, one wants to impose more respect for animals and it is necessary to prevent reckless abandonment of dogs.
The pet should not be left alone for more than three consecutive days which in the case of dogs should not exceed 24 hours. Additionally, pets should not be left alone in patios, porches, patios, basements, or in enclosed vehicles, exposed to heat or cold, or restricted to unattended doors. Fines can be up to 600,000 euros.
There must be better control over the management of cat colonies because a feral cat is a free companion animal whose situation is in fact the result of irresponsible ownership of abandoned cats. Therefore, a protocol is needed to control and gradually reduce the numbers of cats living on the street. For example, municipalities should focus more on spaying, registration, minimal care and training of caregivers for cats.
Please note: This bill was passed after various amendments last Monday in the weekly cabinet but has yet to be voted on in Congress and the Senate. This may mean that the new animal welfare law can still be amended at some points. It is not yet known when that will happen.