Animal protection law in Spain is on hold again

by Lorraine Williamson
animal protection act on hold

MADRID – The Spanish governing parties cannot agree on the new animal protection law. The law contains regulations for the protection of hunting dogs. However, the law and with it hunting dogs are now in danger again. 

This is because the socialist party PSOE is withdrawing and wants to remove hunting dogs from the law. On December 12 and 13, PSOE and Podemos met to negotiate the new animal protection law. However, the parties cannot reach an agreement on the inclusion of hunting dogs in the law. To break the impasse, Podemos proposed to not apply the law when hunting dogs participate in hunting activities, but in all actions outside it. But the socialists want to completely get hunting dogs out of the law completely. 

Animal Protection Act 

It is a remarkable situation: the PSOE and Podemos jointly presented this animal protection law to the Council of Ministers, which then approved it. But suddenly the PSOE withdrew. The Spanish newspaper El País sees the reason for this sudden turn in upcoming state elections. Hunters see the bill as an attack on rural life in Spain. They threaten to no longer vote for the Socialists if the hunting dogs remain part of the bill. And that threat became reality in Andalucia’s elections earlier this year: the Socialists lost dramatically. 

Maite van Gerwen, director of CAS International, says: “It is a shame that the PSOE is succumbing to the pressure of the hunting lobby and thus destroying its own proposal. For all other animals that would fall under the law, this also means that they will not receive extra protection. Therefore, animal abuse will remain unpunished in Spain.” 

Other animals 

Spain does not yet have a national animal protection law. The introduction of this law is therefore historic. The law introduces a non-euthanasia policy – only companion animals may be euthanised for health reasons. Wild animals in circuses are prohibited and zoos and dolphinariums will be converted into nature reserves. In addition, there will be a ban on cockfighting and the sale of dogs, cats and ferrets in pet shops. 

50,000 galgos 

According to CAS International, this failure to protect hunting dogs leaves the door open for abuse, killing and abandonment of puppies and healthy adult dogs. Annually in February, hunters dump and kill more than 50,000 galgos and podencos. 

Related post: Animal activists demand future law also protects hunting dogs 

During two years, CAS and AnimaNaturalis have documented the conditions in which hunting dogs live. These organisations also campaigned to put an end to the abuses. Just last Monday they protested in Madrid, in front of the Congress of Deputies. Several animal protectors with masks of government leaders carried a dead galgo. The dog had been run over and was found by the side of the road. Many dumped hunting dogs come to an end this way. 

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