New law for animals in Spain seen as emotional beings

by Lorraine Williamson
animals in Spain

In the course of 2022, the welfare of animals in Spain will be better protected. For example, companion animals can no longer be killed without reason, circuses are no longer allowed to keep wild animals and there will be a ban on the sale of pets in shops. 

Animals will soon be seen as sentient beings, meaning they cannot be legally confiscated, mortgaged, neglected, or mistreated. The latter was already the case, but people who are guilty of animal cruelty will soon be punished more severely. 

Contact arrangements in the event of a relationship breakdown 

A notable change is that there must be a visitation arrangement for pets in the event of a divorce or breakup. In addition to the care, the costs of the pet after the breakage are also borne by both owners. If there is disagreement about who the pet will live with, the judge will make a decision. He will consider both the well-being of the owners and the pet. All of this is set out in a Podemos bill that will be approved in the coming months. 

The new animal law is intended to improve the relationship between humans and animals. Once the law is in effect, pets can also be included in a will. If no last will has been recorded, the animal goes to the heir who wishes to take care of it. If no heir is willing to do this, government institutions will ensure that the animal is given a new destination. 

Less neglected animals 

The bill will be submitted to the Council of Ministers in the coming weeks and will be adopted in the course of the year. The aim of the new law is to reduce the number of neglected animals in Spain, which is currently between 150 and 300 thousand per year. For example, there will be a register of people who are not considered suitable to care for a pet. 

Only professional breeders 

When the new law goes into effect, private individuals will no longer be allowed to breed pets. However,  professional breeders will still be authorised to do so. It has been found that young animals born to non-professional breeders are more often neglected and abandoned. Also, with effect from the new law, pets must be sterilised if animals of the opposite sex live in the same house. It is likely that after the introduction there will be campaigns to increase social awareness and thereby reduce the current animal abuse and neglect. 


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