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Home / Spain step closer to new animal protection law

Spain step closer to new animal protection law

22-02-2022

Good news from Spain! The Council of Ministers has approved the preliminary draft of the new Animal Protection Law. It hardly distinguishes between dogs and hunting dogs, which means that galgos, podencos and other hunting dogs will be covered by the protection of the law. However, the bill may still change. Later in the year, parliament will vote on it.

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Galgo © CAS International/AnimaNaturalis

This is Spain’s first national animal protection law. In itself, this is a victory for animals. It is a recognition by the Spanish government that animals deserve better protection. It is also a sign that the increasingly loud calls from society to take action against animal suffering are being listened to. Sergio García Torres, director of the Directorate General for Animal Rights, has been leading the way in drafting the new law.

But we are not there yet. The bill may change in the coming months, as changes can still be submitted. Congress and the Senate have yet to cast their votes. For this reason, part of our campaign to protect hunting dogs – Save the Galgos – will be focused on political lobbying in Spain. Save the Galgos is a campaign of CAS International and AnimaNaturalis.

Hunting Dogs

The preliminary draft was presented in November 2021. At the time, it did not distinguish between dogs according to their use. All dogs had the same rights. Now the bill has been considered by the Council of Ministers, which made some adjustments. It now makes slight distinctions between hunting dogs and other dogs. Pets cannot be left alone for more than 24 hours – that is, without supervision – with hunting dogs, this is allowed. Further, anyone who wants to keep a dog as a pet must first take a basic course in responsible dog ownership. Hunters do not have to do this.

Furthermore, there is no distinction between hunting dogs and other dogs: they must all be registered in the register for companion animals; those who want to breed dogs must be registered in the register of dog breeders; in specific cases it is obligatory to sterilize dogs, such as when males and females are kept together, or when a hunting dog is given or sold as a gift to a person who does not hunt. Furthermore, anyone who keeps more than five dogs together must be registered as a “zoological nucleus”, which causes much criticism by hunters. Anyone wishing to breed with dogs must also have appropriate facilities.

The new law should decrease the dumping of dogs in Spain. Every year, more than 50,000 galgos, podencos and other hunting dogs are abandoned or killed after the hunting season. Hunters are not satisfied with the bill and will protest in Madrid on March 20 with the aim of blocking the progress on the new law. From CAS, we will continue to follow developments closely. Together with our sister organizations, we will work to prevent the future law from being changed to the disadvantage of hunting dogs. Keep an eye on our website for the latest news on the new animal protection law.

Bullfighting

Fighting bulls will not fall under the protection of the new animal protection law. This is to prevent parliament from rejecting the law as a whole. This would be at the cost of the welfare of other animals, because the abolition of bullfighting is still sensitive to certain political parties. From CAS we will continue our fight against bullfighting, through other strategic routes.

Read the story of Menta, a galgo that was maltreated and dumped by hunters in Spain.

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