A new change in legislation in Spain protects the rights of animals, especially pets. The biggest change is that the new animal protection law will require dog owners to undergo training courses before owning a dog. The nature of the training course is yet to be determined. The preliminary draft of the law was published on October 6 for review by the Ministry of Social Rights and represents a dramatic change in regulations for the ownership and care of animals, with special attention to pets.
The document published on October 6th is a preliminary draft so still will be subject to changes before it reaches the council of ministers before being processed by parliament. Experts believe that the legislation in its current format will cause disagreements between the various town halls and autonomous communities in Spain. Also of note is the absence of any mention of bullfighting shows. Animals used in experiments, such as scientific research, only have a brief mention, saying that they are exempt from the requirement to “handle the animal with non-aggressive or violent methods that can cause suffering or mistreatment of the animal” nor is it necessary to carry out periodic and documented veterinary examinations as with other animals.
One key point surrounds animal euthanasia with the draft legislation indicating that putting an animal down can only be done if justified under veterinary approval for the sole purpose of avoiding suffering in cases of incurable disease or injury, or for reasons of animal health, or the safety of people.
People will be prohibited from mistreating or physically assaulting animals or subjecting them to negligent treatment or any practice that may cause the animal suffering, physical or psychological damage or cause their death. Also to be prohibited is the abandonment of an animal in an open or closed space. Mutilation or body modifications will not be allowed (cutting tails or ears of dogs, for example) with the exception of required medical procedures to guarantee the health of the animal or to limit the animal’s reproductive capacity.
There are a series of prohibitions set out by the draft legislation as it currently stands. Animals will not be allowed to be used in fights, or for training for fights, or for instigating aggression towards other animals or people. Nor will they be used in public shows, tourist activities or any advertising that causes the animal anguish, pain or suffering. Begging using animals will not be allowed. Submitting the animal to inappropriate or excessive work will also be prohibited. The use of spiked collars or leads that could harm the animal will not be allowed. Animals will not be used as a reward or prize in a raffle or promotion. Domesticated animals will not be released into the wild. Pet animals cannot be left unsupervised for three consecutive days and in the case of dogs, this period cannot exceed 24 consecutive hours. Pets must be kept in a good state of cleanliness and hygiene and those that, due to their size or characteristics cannot live inside the family home must be provided with adequate accommodation with shelter according to their size and protection from inclement weather. In the case of sociable animals, the draft legislation says that they cannot be kept isolated from humans or other animals and must be provided with the company they require. Measures must be taken to avoid uncontrolled reproduction of pets. The legislation also says that pets cannot be sold in shops and breeding can only be carried out by authorised breeders.