Spain beefs up animal welfare laws

SPAIN’S new animal rights law has been approved on Monday, bolstering animal welfare laws in a country that has traditionally lagged behind its European neighbours.

The law outlines much more severe penalties for the mistreatment of vertebrate animals and prohibits killing any domestic pets except for specific sanitary or health reasons.

It also stipulates that domestic pets may not be sacrificed unless for sanitary reasons or illness, Owners of dogs meanwhile have to have official identification for their pets and all breeders must be listed on an official register.

Dog Snip
The laws toughen penalties for unlicenced breeders.
Photo: Flickr

It comes after endemic pet abandonment in Spain, which is among the highest in Europe, and is made worse by so-called ‘backyard’ breeders.

The new regulation also bans the selling of dogs, cats and ferrets in pet shops and bans the use of wild animals in circuses and activities where animals could be damaged or killed, such as cockfights and pigeon shooting.

Despite the beefed up laws, there is no mention of bullfighting, an omission that has been criticised by animal rights groups.

All zoos and dolphinariums are also required to be converted into ‘centres for the recovery of native species’, with the penalties for ill-treating any animals more severe than they have been so far, with up to two years in prison if the animal dies from mistreatment. 

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