MADRID – Spaniards appear to feel closely involved in animal welfare. Futhermore, a majority speak negatively about keeping circus animals, bullfighting, sport hunting, and the use of animals for the clothing and cosmetics industries.
This is shown by a survey by Fundación BBVA among 4000 inhabitants of Spain. The conclusion of this research is clear; the Spaniards regard animals as living beings and even attribute human emotions to them. Eight out of ten respondents believe that animals have a sense of self. And nine out of ten believe that humans have a moral responsibility for the well-being of both pets and wildlife.
Ambitious new animal law
The outcome of the BBVA investigation reflects the current animal-friendly mentality of Spain. Furthermore, the country recently submitted a bill for an ambitious new animal law. Among other things, this regulates co-parenting of the pet in the event that the owners’ relationship is terminated. Animals are therefore no longer an object by law but are seen as full family members.
Of those surveyed, 87% believe animals feel physical pain, and 79% believe animals can have feelings of fear. Furthermore, 71% say animals have emotions, and therefore, 69% believe animals can experience a sense of pleasure. What is meant here is that animals experience these emotions in a similar way to humans. 72% think that animals experience family ties in the same way and 66% believe that animals have a memory and can remember things just like humans.
Majority find eating meat justified
Nevertheless, a majority also considers it justified that animals are used for scientific research, for example in the field of medicine and veterinary medicine (60% and 70% of the respondents respectively). 61% do not mind that animals are sacrificed for human consumption. When it comes to sports, entertainment, cosmetics, or clothing, however, almost all respondents do not think it is morally responsible that animals are used for this.
When it comes to genetic engineering in animals, 46% don’t see it as a problem if it’s for medical purposes, such as transplanting an animal organ into humans. That percentage drops to 26% if the genetic modification is intended for the food industry.
The survey was conducted last November, even before the growing number of macro farms in Spain came into the limelight. Environmental groups denounced this development because thousands of cows and pigs are kept in much too small spaces to meet the continuing high demand for meat.