Approved the Animal Welfare Law

The Congress of Deputies approved yesterday the Animal rights and welfare protection lawwhose original project was presented by the Government in August last year, and which focuses on the possession and custody of companion and wild animals in captivity, excluding hunting, guard and working dogs.

Now, after going through the Senate —which presented a dozen amendments— its publication in the State Official Gazette and its consequent entry into force are expected.

The new regulations, promoted by the Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, intend to regulate “the recognition and protection of the dignity of animals” and establish legal mechanisms to “prevent the high degree of abandonment” in Spain, according to the exhibition. project itself.

In practice, law enforcement will imply that pet owners must train for the dignified treatment of their pets, registering them and locating them at all times (which implies that they will not be able to abandon or leave them without company or supervision). , indoors, for long periods).

The sale and exhibition of dogs, cats and ferrets in pet shops is prohibited.

Likewise, the norm establishes which species of fauna considered wild cannot be kept at home (this list includes, among others, poisonous reptiles and those that in the adult state exceed two kilos in weight, except chelonians). For each one of them there will be a specific regulation, but, in general terms, the dueños are considered responsible for the damages, injuries or annoyances that cause their animals to third parties and, in case of loss or misplacement, these have to be communicated to the authorities.

With regard to trade, the sale of dogs, cats and ferrets in pet shops is prohibited, as well as their display and exposure to the public for commercial purposes. Dogs, cats and ferrets can only be sold from registered breeders.

None shall suffer, neither the domestic nor the marauder

In the first articles, the law expresses the purpose of achieving that “adequate level” of safeguards, promoting responsible ownership and coexistence, combating abuse, promoting adoption and “responsible sale”, promoting campaigns for the identification, prevention and treatment of diseases , and to establish obligations, both for Public Administrations and the public, in terms of care and rights of animals.

Likewise, the categories of animals contemplated by law are defined (what is meant by a domestic, wild or abandoned animal), as well as the characteristics that reception centers, breeding centers and animal protection shelters must have, if applicable. that one can speak of a “feline colony” and how it is managed, when a cat is “community” or “prowler”, which veterinary assistance is mandatory and how to deal with “assisted death”, among other concepts.

They cannot be used in shows or on mechanical attractions or carousels at fairs that cause them distress or pain.

With regard to specific measures against the suffering of animals, mistreatment and “negligent treatment” are expressly prohibited, intentional abandonment in closed or open spaces, especially “in the wild, where they can cause further damage due to feralization or their status of potentially invasive alien species”.

According to the new law, animals cannot be used in public shows or artistic, tourist or advertising activities that cause them distress or pain, nor in mechanical attractions or carousels at fairs, nor deliver them as a reward or prize, or raffle. them. The promotion or use of animals belonging to wild fauna species in circus shows is also not allowed.

Target shooting or tube shooting, subjecting animals to inappropriate work or feeding them with viscera, corpses and other viscera of animals that have not gone through the appropriate controls will not be allowed.

Rail operators will take the necessary measures to facilitate the transport of pets on trains.

With regard to mutilation practices (functional or aesthetic), they will be abolished, except for identification systems by marking the ear of community cats and those necessary for therapeutic reasons or to limit or nullify their reproductive capacity. Of course, animals cannot be used to fight, nor can they be trained in these practices.

In addition, “mechanisms for the adoption of abandoned individuals are defined, establishing pedagogical, informative and animal control criteria that guarantee that unidentified animals are the exception to a normality where the majority are identified and with the respective daily veterinary treatments ”.

Use of public transport and other permits

According to the articles of the new Animal Welfare Law, public and private transport will facilitate the entry of companion animals that do not pose a risk. However, public service taxi drivers or tourist vehicles may accept pets in their vehicles at their discretion. And short, medium and long distance rail operators will adopt the necessary measures to facilitate the rail transport of domestic animals.

As for public and private establishments, hotel accommodation, restaurants and bars, they can facilitate the entry of pets, and, if they do not admit it, they must present a badge that indicates this.

Dog owners must complete a training course aimed at facilitating responsible pet ownership

The bill regulates the participation of animals in fairs or cultural activities such as exhibitions. In this sense, it is required that the animals are well fed and hydrated, in addition to having an “adequate space to take refuge from the weather”.

In pilgrimages or fairs, animals must present “an excellent hygienic-sanitary state”. In addition, the use of animals in this type of event is prohibited “when excessive temperatures are identified” or “pyrotechnic elements are used”.

On the other hand, it is foreseen, among other measures, the creation of a Central System of Animal Protection Records, the elaboration of Animal Protection Statistics, with the objective of knowing the state of animal protection in society as a whole. , as well as a State Plan for Animal Protection, which will contain objectives and actions to “eradicate mistreatment against animals in all aspects of our society”.

Another aspect reflected in the text is the obligation for dog owners to take a training course in order to facilitate the correct and responsible ownership of the animal. Specifically, the regulation stipulates that people who live with pets have a duty to protect them and, for that, “exceed the regulated responsible custody training for each species of pet”.

In the last debate on the new law, in Congress, the amendments approved by the Senate were considered and finally included 10 of the 18 that had been presented in the Senate. The plenary of the Congress of Deputies also approved the Reform of the Penal Code on animal abuse.

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