MADRID – The new Spanish animal welfare law continues to occupy the minds in Spain. Agricultural organisations are concerned about the possible nuisance caused by stray animals in agricultural areas.
Under the new law, landowners are no longer allowed to shoot feral dogs or cats on their property. Spanish authorities say that the law does not distinguish between ‘normal’ and ‘feral’ pets. Since killing pets will become a criminal offence, this will soon also apply to feral specimens.
In Andalucia, for example, landowners received a letter from the local authorities that under the new law, they are no longer allowed to shoot stray dogs or stray cats on their property.
Agricultural organisation ASAJA (an association of young farmers) says in response that “controlling the numbers of stray animals in our areas is of the utmost importance” and that “the new law makes this impossible”.
Stray dog problems
The agricultural organisation is particularly concerned about stray dogs. According to them, they are a major problem in agricultural areas. “They cause a lot of damage to (poultry) farms and cover enormous distances, increasing the risk of traffic accidents.
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These are animals that are not identifiable because they are not chipped. They have no owner who can be held responsible for the damage they cause. And no one monitors the health of those animals. They are not vaccinated, so there is also a risk of rabies spreading.”
The Animal Welfare Act was passed earlier this year after much fuss. The law aims to improve the welfare of (especially) pets. For example, there are stricter requirements for having pets. Pet shops are no longer allowed to exhibit animals and dog owners are required to take a course.
Criticism of the law
The animal welfare law has been the subject of debate for some time. Furthermore, the draft law has already attracted criticism from all sides in Spain. Hunters, agricultural organisations and veterinarians thought the law went too far. Animal rights organisations thought the law was far too cautious. For example, the law says absolutely nothing about bullfighting. Reports went viral on the internet that the law made it impossible to kill a mouse in your home or that the law would promote sex with animals.