Spanish veterinarians concerned about new regulations on euthanasia

by Lorraine Williamson

MADRID – A new Animal Welfare Law recently came into effect in Spain. This includes, among other things, new regulations for euthanasia. However, veterinarians are concerned about possible unnecessary suffering as a result.

The new law, which came into effect on September 29, aims to promote the welfare of all (domestic) animals in Spain. Although veterinarians are initially positive about this law, Ramón Garcia, president of the Association of Veterinarians of the Balearic Islands, points out its complexity. In the newspaper El Diario de Mallorca, he expressed his concerns about the new euthanasia guidelines.

Also read: Concerns about nuisance from stray animals due to new Animal Welfare Act

According to the new rules, putting to sleep is only permitted if an animal suffers from an untreatable condition. The government’s principle is that animals should not be sacrificed. And although veterinarians think this is “logical”, they believe that the practice has many nuances.

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“In situations where treatment is possible, but the owner cannot bear the costs, this law can cause problems,” says García. He laments that animals in this situation may “suffer unnecessarily” or have a “poor quality of life” because they do not have access to the necessary medication.

María Luísa Fernández, president of the Association of Veterinarians of Tenerife, also speaks of a complex situation: “We are often confronted with such cases in practice and must be free to do the work we do. Our guideline is to put to sleep as little as possible and try to treat as much as possible. But treatment costs money and not everyone can afford it. If these costs cannot be borne, are we allowing an animal to suffer because of the owner’s lack of financial resources?”

There is also criticism of the fact that the law does not allow euthanasia in the event of animal aggression. Veterinarians have jointly asked the ministry for clarification.

Also read: No mandatory insurance and courses for dog owners in Spain yet

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