MADRID – In February, the Council of Ministers in Spain approved the processing of the Law on the Protection, Rights, and Welfare of Animals. Its purpose is to prevent abuse, sacrifice, and abandonment. Also, the law includes the creation of a pet ID.
The new General Director of Animal Rights, Sergio García Torres, hopes the parliamentary process will be completed by the end of this year. Therefore, it could come into effect in 2023. Other proposals in the draft include the;
- ban on private livestock farming
- establishment of the State Animal Protection Council
- establishment of an animal protection plan that will be renewed every three years.
What is the ID for animals?
Article 10 of the draft Act on the Protection, Rights, and Welfare of Animals regulates the new Central Register of Animal Protection, also known as animal ID. Animal owners gain access to the national register with animal data via digital documents. This pet ID attracts the most attention. Regardless of the autonomous region from which data is needed, it can then be found quickly. This is positive if, for example, a dog is lost or a cat is lost. Authorities can then quickly contact the owners via the chip and the register. Even if the pet is registered in a different province than where it was found.
Another advantage is that it is then no longer necessary to access the information on the animal’s chip with a microchip reader. The information could also be contained in a QR code that each animal receives.
The system would consist of a division of animal protection agencies, one animal behaviour professionals, one of the companion animals, one of the zoos and animal shelters, and one of the breeders.
How much would an animal ID cost and where can it be applied for?
“The Pet-ID will be completely free,” Torres says. It will be sent to the owners of the animals, once they have implanted the usual microchip. Further procedures are then no longer necessary. It’s automatic and you don’t have to go anywhere to request it. “You don’t have to go to the police station to register your dog,” Torres jokes to RTVE.es.
When does the pet ID come into effect?
The preliminary draft is still awaiting a second round in the Council of Ministers. It follows the trial of allegations (more than 6,000 have been received), which could arrive in the course of the summer. The ministry expects this process to be completed by the end of this year so that the ID for pets can come into effect in 2023. “It could be published in the Government Gazette about six months after the law is published,” the director explains to RTVE.es.
But… hadn’t it already entered into force?
No. At the beginning of the year, the law came into effect establishing the new consideration of animals as “living creatures”. The text already mentions the identification register for animals. That idea is related to the Animal ID, but the Act on the Protection and Rights of Animals should eventually provide for it. Since then, the story has started to circulate that the pet ID was already approved and required.
Are animals excluded from the law?
The concept excludes animals used in bullfights, production animals, and wild animals from the norm. The latter is subject to the provisions of the Natural Heritage and Biodiversity Act (42/2007). The owner can choose to register a production animal as a companion animal in the appropriate register.
Still possible to buy pets?
The bill’s main purpose is to regulate people’s behaviour toward pets. From this follows a series of duties and obligations for owners. One is to mimic the breeding and selling of pets. These would no longer be for sale in stores, except fish. In addition, only certified professionals should be allowed to grow.
“This is done to prevent unwanted reproduction and subsequent abandonment or sacrifice,” the design specifies. For this reason, if two animals of the opposite sex live in the same place, they must be sterilized.
What would dog owners be obliged to do?
Article 35 of the draft requires dog owners to take an accredited course for owning these animals. It would be free and short education, Torres says. The training aims to help people understand the responsibility of having a pet to reduce the number of abandoned animals. In addition, the owners must take out civil liability insurance. What institutions are there to protect animals?
In principle, there will be a Council of State for the Protection of Animals as an advisory body. Article 19 of the draft also provides for a National Animal Conservation Plan, a tool to identify and define actions and objectives aimed at eradicating animal cruelty and promoting its protection. This plan would be drawn up every three years. This includes a National Plan against Animal Abuse and a National Plan against Abandonment.
There will also be a statistical register for animal protection. This allows monitoring of the state of animal protection in Spanish society. The register thus serves as a basis for decisions to evaluate and improve the condition of animals. An Animal Protection Fund is planned for the latter. The money in this will come from the budget of the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030.
What does the rule say about cat colonies?
Article 51 provides a standard that develops programs for the ethical management of cat colonies. This promotes cooperation with citizens in the care of urban cats. There will also be ethical plans for population control based on sterilisation and the return of animals to their colony.
What is the probability that the law will be passed?
The ministry expects the law to be passed. Despite the more than 6,000 accusations received that Torres says call for “a much more protectionist standard”. This shows that there is a lot of support in society for the law and its necessity.
Inclusion of hunting dogs as a “red line”
However, the “red line” is the possible inclusion of hunting dogs in the standard. It would protect them like any other dog. But Spain has a sizable hunting lobby that fervently opposes different rules for handling their dogs. According to Torres, the ministry is not considering the exclusion of these animals. After approval of the standard in the second round of the Council of Ministers, the parliament still has to give the green light. This means that until then there is the possibility that its content may change.