Earlier this month, Spanish legislators unanimously approved a bill to improve the welfare of animals. The bill was accompanied by a modification of the penal code that will result in harsher punishments for anyone who abuses animals.
Ione Belarra, Minister of Social Rights and Leader of the Podemos Party remarked that “It is a very important day because Parliament has definitively approved the first law on animal rights (since the restoration) of our democracy,” Podemos is a party that is on the far left of the political spectrum.
She went on to say that the law “will put an end to the impunity of people mistreating animals” and that it represents “progress which corresponds to the sensitivity of our fellow citizens who want, for the most part, to protect” animals.
Dog owners will be required to undergo “mandatory” training under this rule, and it will be against the law for them to leave their pets alone for more than 24 hours at a time.
In addition to this, it makes the sterilization of cats mandatory, with the exception of cats kept on farms. Animal rights organizations have emphasized the significance of birth control in order to reduce the number of cats that are abandoned.
What are the penalties?
The reform of the penal code that comes along with the law increases the penalties for mistreatment, which can land offenders with up to a year and a half in prison if the animal requires veterinary care. If the animal does not require veterinary care, the penalties remain the same as they were before the law.
This penalty will be increased to two years if the animal is killed, and it could possibly be increased to three years if the circumstances are particularly severe.
Until this point, the highest sentence that could be handed down in case of an animal’s death was 18 months behind bars.
These regulations apply primarily to pets and don’t cover farm animals or hunting dogs in any way, shape, or form.
The fate of the latter had generated disputes inside the left-wing administration between the Socialists of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s party, who favored omitting hunting dogs from the measure, and Podemos, who opposed it.
The bullfighting industry will not be impacted in any way by the legal reforms.
Also, the regulation strengthens the oversight of pet breeders.
Since the beginning of the year 2020, the country of Spain has made it possible for pet owners to share custody of their animals because pets are now regarded as “living beings endowed with sensitivity” rather than merely “things.”
Several nations in Europe have already made changes to their legal systems to reflect the recognition that animals are sentient beings with lives of their own.