Spain strengthens animal rights, but excludes bullfights

MADRID (AP) — A new animal protection law that took effect Friday in Spain bans the use of animals in recreational activities that cause them pain and suffering, but allows bullfights and others Hunting with dogs.

Spain’s first specific Animal rights The legislation is intended to take action against abuses. The law specifically targets mistreatment of pets and provides for fines of up to 200,000 euros (US$212,000).

It bans the purchase of pets in stores or online, but gives stores a grace period to find homes for their animals. In the future, it will only be legal to buy pets from registered breeders. The new rules allow pets in most establishments, including restaurants and bars.

Bullfights are considered part of Spanish cultural heritage.
Bullfights are considered part of Spanish cultural heritage.

DBenitostock via Getty Images

The law bans the use of wild animals in circuses and gives owners six months to comply. It allows zoos to continue using the marine mammals in their dolphin shows until the animals die.

Bullfights are considered part of Spanish cultural heritage.

The proposal to include hunting dogs in the law sparked an outcry in some rural communities and the government relented.

According to government statistics, around 29 million animals are kept as pets in Spain, most of which are dogs. But around 300,000 animals are abandoned every year and around a third of them are euthanized.

The law also aims to introduce mandatory insurance and registration of pets, as well as training for owners. However, these requirements and some other legal aspects were delayed because detailed administrative procedures were not developed due to the lack of an incumbent government.

Spanish parliamentary elections in July were inconclusive and political parties are in talks to build a coalition.

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