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Home / Spanish Council of Ministers approves draft animal protection law

Spanish Council of Ministers approves draft animal protection law


The Spanish Council of Ministers has approved the proposal for the new National Animal Protection Law. An important step, since Spain does not yet have a national law regulating animal welfare. Every state has its own animal protection law, so there is no unity in the treatment of animals and the punishment for animal abuse.


Galgo © CAS International/AnimaNaturalis

From CAS International we are very happy with this important step. Ilone Belarra, Minister of Social Rights and Agenda 2030, is convinced that the new law will put an end to impunity: in most cases of animal abuse in Spain, there is no penalty. However, parliament must first debate the progressive bill.

The new animal protection law has three main pillars: First, it puts an end to the abandonment of animals in Spain. Every year, some 300,000 animals are dumped. Secondly, no more animals will be euthanized in shelters and killing stations, except for health reasons. In that case, a veterinarian must approve the euthanasia. Thirdly, it requires the compulsory identification of dogs/cats and breeders in order to facilitate the traceability of the animals. Only authorized breeders may still breed dogs and cats.

Hunting dogs

For hunting dogs, this has enormous consequences. Hunters are no longer allowed to breed their hunting dogs themselves, which means that it will no longer be possible to raise animals with only certain characteristics. The fact that some of the bred dogs do not meet the requirements of hunters is one of the reasons for the dumping of dogs in the southern European country.

In addition, hunters are obliged to sterilize their dogs from now on, except when they live in a house. If that is not the case, males and females must be kept in separate spaces. Also, all hunting dogs will be linked to the hunter’s hunting license and must be registered in a national register.


The law bans cockfighting and pigeon shooting. Such practices will be subject to a fine of up to €200,000. It will also protect vertebrate animals, such as boars and foxes. Spain has several cases of serious cruelty to wild animals, including one where a hunter deliberately drowned a boar. This led to a wave of indignation in the country. Furthermore, the bill means an end to circuses with wild animals. And zoos and dolphinariums will be given a new form: sanctuaries for the exclusive protection of endangered species.


Unfortunately, the bill does not offer any protection to animals in the bullfighting industry. Bullfighting is still very sensitive in Spain, and the chances are high that the law will be voted down otherwise. In addition, other strategic routes are required to stop bullfighting, as it is Spain’s cultural heritage. The law also excludes animals used for experiments in laboratories or in intensive livestock farming.

© Tras los Muros

Keep an eye on our website for news about the new animal protection law. It is expected that the parliament will debate the bill soon. CAS International, together with AnimaNaturalis – from our campaign to protect hunting dogs – will exert political pressure for a positive result. We will also hold two protests in Madrid and Barcelona in September to prevent hunting dogs from falling outside the new law.

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