Animal Welfare Law Approved

The Government obtained the support this week for the new Animal Welfare Law to be approved. During the debate, two elements were voted on, the new welfare law itself, approved with 174 votes in favour, 167 against and 7 abstentions, and a change to the Penal Code to change the penalties for some existing laws, with 178 support, 165 votes against and 6 abstentions.

After the approval on Thursday, the bill will now be sent to the Senate, where it will follow the debate procedure in a paper, committee, and plenary session. The Upper House may approve the text as is, amend it, or approve a veto. In the case of the last two cases, the initiative will return to the Congress of Deputies for a final debate before its final approval.

The explanatory statement of the law recalls that one in three Spanish homes lives with at least one pet. With this framework in mind, the regulation seeks, among other objectives, to combat abandonment, define the obligations of owners, control breeding, and supervise canine colonies.

One of the most important amendments was number 29, originally presented by the Euskal Herria Bildu Parliamentary Group. It includes a new definition of what will be called “auxiliary companion animal”, which would be defined as follows: “those companion animals that, selected for their aptitudes and qualities, are trained to help people in a regulated activity or specific role, such as guard and custody dogs, shepherd dogs, assistance dogs, hunting dogs or ferrets, truffle hunting dogs, rescue dogs and those dogs used by security forces and bodies”. This would mean that all regulations applied exclusively to “companion animals” could have exceptions for this legal subgroup.

A modification of section 8 of Article 50 was included, with amendment 190 of the Republican Parliamentary Group, which adds a final text to the provision on the protocol that must be applied in the capture and relocation of cats living on the street: “The protocol must contemplate the capture systems, which can only be carried out by authorised and duly trained personnel, and must be carried out under strictly controlled conditions and through non-bloody selective methods, and must be used in extraordinary cases and as the only alternative in those situations where those that, if not carried out, inevitably suppose the death of those cats susceptible to suffering this type of relocation”. Approved with 179 votes in favour, 104 against and 64 abstentions.

Citizens will be obliged from now on to treat their animals according to their status as sentient beings. The standard includes a list of requirements that must be followed by those responsible for “companion and wild animals in captivity. Among other things, they must have adequate spaces in terms of size, naturalisation, and environmental enrichment for their possession” and animals may not be left alone inside closed vehicles, exposed to thermal conditions or of any other nature that could endanger their lives. In addition, they must be provided with the necessary care to guarantee their health.

The law presents some prohibitions. It will not be allowed to use animals in public shows or tourist or advertising artistic activities, which cause them anguish, pain, or suffering, for begging, used as advertising, or to use them as fighting animals.

The text establishes the so-called ‘zero sacrifice’ which establishes some exceptions that will regulate the killing of animals. “Their sacrifice, except for reasons of safety of people or animals or for the existence of a risk to public health duly justified by the competent authority” is prohibited. “Slaughter in animal protection centres, whether public or private, veterinary clinics and zoos in general, is expressly prohibited for economic reasons, overcrowding, lack of places, impossibility of finding an adopter within a certain period,” adds the law. “Euthanasia will only be justified under veterinary criteria and control with the sole purpose of avoiding suffering due to non-recoverable causes that seriously compromise the quality of life of the animal and as such must be accredited and certified by a collegiate veterinary professional”.

Beyond these points, the text includes a maximum period of four years for a list of species that may be acquired as pets to be drawn up, introduces a control of animal husbandry, and includes the revocation of the norm that regulates the possession of high-risk pets, such as dogs which were previously grouped together as dangerous.

The post Animal Welfare Law Approved first appeared on Spanishvida – Spanish news in English.

Mark Nolan

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