MADRID – While the new animal welfare law is being processed in the Spanish parliament, the PSOE still wants to exclude hunting dogs from this law. The intention is to provide these animals with “specific legislation” in line with European standards.
The PSOE announced this on Thursday. The ruling party has thus succumbed to criticism from hunters of the new animal welfare law. This law was passed last August.
Patxi López, the parliamentary spokesman for the socialists in the House of Representatives, explained that this measure is intended to prevent “wrong and ill-intentioned interpretations” of this rule”. This is referring to interpretations of the law that ensure, in particular, that the hunting sector and people in rural areas turn against the government.
The purpose of the amendment is that not only all hunting dogs but also dogs that are used in sports activities, falconry, herding dogs, herders or rescue dogs are excluded from the new law.
All of the above animals would then come under a new specific law. Such as, according to López, included in the National Game Management Strategy. As a result, the Animal Welfare Act is only intended for “pets that live in a house with their owners”.
The specific rule for non-pets “will follow the line of European regulations” and “will avoid conflicts with the autonomous communities”, which, according to López, have “exclusive powers” in this matter.
Protest animal rights activists
Even before the news became known, associations and animal protectionists started to mobilise in protest. “We must join forces and let it be known that there are many people who reject animal cruelty and we are not going to allow the hunting guild to get away with it and carry out the barbarities with their dogs that we see every day with impunity,” said Matilde Cubillo, president of the Law for Animals and the Madrid Federation of Animal Protection Associations FAPAM.
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Abuse of hunting dogs
It’s no secret that hunting dogs in Spain don’t have a very good life. Every year, after the hunting season, about 50,000 Galgo’s and Podenco’s are abandoned, animal rights organisations in Spain say. It is these dog breeds in Spain that suffer the most from humans. For centuries, Galgo and Podenco hunting has played a vital role in many rural Spanish communities. Here a large part of the population is ‘galguero’ (hunter). When the hunting season is over and the Galgos are no longer “of use”, the greyhounds are discarded as a disposable items. In practice, this means that they are abandoned or killed, sometimes only after a long journey. However, hunters deny that they are responsible for this.
But with the new Animal Welfare Act, this could come to an end. Because then, hunters would also have to adhere to stricter rules.