Through a series of far-reaching bills, the Spanish government wants to address the suffering of the animals. If Parliament approves, for example, the sale of pets in stores will be banned and wild animals will disappear from the circus.
The maximum prison sentence for killing animals will be increased from one to two years. An offender could face up to a year in prison for sexually assaulting an animal. The violation must then be proven by a veterinarian.
Animal welfare organizations welcome the bill, but at the same time note that various forms of animal suffering remain unaffected. Bullfighting, hunting and handling of livestock on farms and stables are not specifically included in the bills. According to the Greens, the bill is comprehensive, but it doesn’t go far enough.
The new law comes from Podemos, the coalition partner in the Spanish government. The left-wing populist party has put animal welfare at the top of its agenda.
Leave the pets behind
Citizens who want to buy a cat, dog or other pet can only go to certified breeders. Today, the animals are still sold in pet stores and some markets. When couples separate, the judge decides whether there is joint custody or whether one of the owners will be responsible for the animal. The life of pets can only be ended by veterinarians, in the form of euthanasia.
Also, leaving dogs unattended for more than 24 hours would become a criminal offence. But according to animal rights lawyer Nuria Mendes de Lano, a prison sentence should also be issued for leaving dogs behind. “This major problem, which affects about 300,000 animals a year, must be taken seriously,” she told El Pais.
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