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In a historic move, Spanish lawmakers have passed a new animal welfare law, which includes reforms to the penal code to increase prison sentences for those who mistreat animals. The law marks an important step towards protecting the welfare of domestic animals in Spain and will require “compulsory” training for dog owners, who will also be prohibited from leaving their dogs alone for more than 24 hours. It also makes the sterilization of cats compulsory, except on farms, in order to prevent abandonment and overpopulation.
Animal rights groups have praised the new law as a significant victory for animal welfare, as it aims to put an end to the impunity of those who mistreat animals. The law’s passing has been celebrated by animal welfare activists, who say it represents a “progress which corresponds to the sensitivity of our fellow citizens who want, for the most part, to protect” animals.
The new law strengthens animal welfare legislation in Spain by increasing the penalties for mistreatment. Offenders can now face up to a year and a half in prison if the animal requires veterinary care, with this sentence increasing to two years if the animal dies, or even three in the event of aggravating circumstances. The measures mainly apply to domestic animals and do not concern farm animals or hunting dogs. Bullfighting will also not be affected by the legal changes.
The law is a reflection of a growing concern for animal welfare around the world, and Spain is not alone in recognizing the importance of protecting animals. Several European countries have already modified their civil codes to recognize the living and sensitive nature of animals. Spain has already granted the right to joint custody for pets since the beginning of 2020, who are now considered “living beings endowed with sensitivity” and no longer simply “things”.
However, there is still more work to be done to protect the welfare of animals, both in Spain and around the world. This law is an important step toward improving animal welfare, but it is up to us to ensure that it is enforced and that animals are treated with the respect and care they deserve.
We can all do our part by supporting animal welfare organizations, volunteering at local shelters, and ensuring that we treat our own pets with the love and care they deserve. We can also encourage our elected officials to Support stronger animal welfare legislation and to work towards creating a more compassionate society for all animals.
The passing of this new animal welfare law is a significant step towards protecting the welfare of domestic animals in Spain. It is up to all of us to ensure that this law is enforced and that animals are treated with the care and respect they deserve. Let us all do our part to create a more compassionate society for all animals.
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