New law for the protection and wellbeing of animals

Raymundo LarraĆ­n Nesbitt, March, 3. 2022

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Abogados
8th of March 2022


Animal rights, always a pet article of mine.

Spain’s social-communist government approved a new law for the protection and rights of animals. I can only show my personal appreciation and gratitude for at (long) last having such a law enacted and enforced throughout Spain.

The new draft law can be browsed here, it came into force on the 5th January 2022.

This key law, which amends several other laws, is the latest addition to a general legal framework that is gathered in an Animal Codex (Código de Protección y Bienestar Animal) devised for the protection of animal welfare. Updated as of 27-01-2022.

This was a trend that was started long ago by one man; a proto-ecologist called Mr. Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente in the 70’s who, over time, shaped Spanish modern society changing its mindset, even to our day, and has coalesced in this Animal Codex that now protects our little brothers and sisters. No accolade can honour enough what this man achieved in benefit of us all. Almost four decades on after his tragic death, he is still mourned and credited as the Father of Spanish Environmentalism.

Spain’s historical disposition towards animal’s rights has been hazy at best; to put it mildly and avoid ruffling feathers. This situation has changed dramatically post-Constitution as new open-minded generations, imbued by democratic ideals, seize power to enact laws in line with the core values that behoove a modern society.

This new law, that extends jail terms to those gits that would abuse animals, is a clear victory for animal rights in Spain which have (finally) become a core tenet of our society and which may now be legally upheld.

Kudos to our government for making such a great effort to protect our pets and wildlife.

Credit where credit is due. Gracias Félix.

Recap of the new points brought by this law

As per usual, I will collate the main 25 as bullet points, simplifying where necessary.

  • Animals cease to be ‘things’, in legal terms, and are now regarded as living, sensitive beings. As a consequence, they may no longer be repossessed or embargoed in insolvency procedures.
  • Animals can no longer be sold in pet stores. They will be sold only by licenced animal breeders.
  • Animal exchanges between private unlicenced individuals must be free of charge, no money can be exchanged.
  • Animal breeders are under a legal obligation to identify and tag animals in a national animal registry before being sold.
  • Some animals will be neutered prior to being sold to avoid their unwanted reproduction.
  • Animals may no longer be freely sacrificed unless there are valid reasons.
  • Prohibition to mistreat them physically or psychologically.
  • Animals may no longer be abandoned by owners in open or closed spaces i.e. terraces, cars, etc.
  • No mutilations are allowed i.e. for aesthetic reasons.
  • Animal fights are forbidden.
  • Banning of public shows that use animals and may cause them any kind of pain or suffering.
  • Beggars may no longer use animals to beg.
  • Certain jobs, that are deemed too stressful for their wellbeing, may no longer use animals.
  • Banning of animal accessories that cause them harm i.e. spiked collars for dangerous dogs.
  • Banning of pets to be eaten (sic)!
  • Banning of capturing wild birds to force them to sing.
  • Banning of certain foods for animals not considered apt.
  • Banning of animals as prizes in draws or lotteries.
  • Banning of animals (i.e. pets) released into the wild.
  • Banning of animal traps unless legally authorized.
  • Cats can no longer be left alone for more than 3 days, dogs no more than 24 hours unsupervised.
  • The adoption of non-tagged or identified animals is expressly banned.
  • Publicity with animals is banned except for their own purposes i.e. animal food
  • Arts 332 to 340 of Spain’s Criminal Code.
  • New amendment will increase jail terms from the current 12 months to 2 years in prison.

 

Conclusion

The majority of animal lobbies consider the new amendment of 2 years falls short of what’s required. They are lobbying hard to increase it to 3 or 5 years. Given the changes in the mindset of our society, I find it highly likely this increase in jail terms will be achieved in the future. I very much welcome them.

There is still much work to be done to extend these rights and protection to animals in the wilderness.

To close, such laws for the protection of animals are always a welcome respite, as they exemplify the best of Human exalted values and show the respect that is due - and owed - by our little brothers and sisters, who look up to us. These changes act as a ray of hope, in the dark times we now live through, when not even human life is spared by those who wield absolute power and ought to know better. History is a ruthless mistress, tyrants and despotic warmongers go down in shame, always.

 

The greatness of a nation, and its moral progress, can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Gandhi. AKA Mahatma (‘Great Soul’) Gandhi.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 – 1948). From an impoverished and humble social background, he would rise to become the Father of the modern Indian Nation. Trained lawyer, author, journalist, editor, statesman, staunch human rights activist and founder of the non-violent movement. He would be wrongfully incarcerated and would suffer unjust persecution throughout most of his adult life. Gandhi's mindset would be for ever changed after reading the book ‘The Kingdom of God is Within You’, from the universally acclaimed Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, in which Tolstoy reinterpreted the teachings of our Lord Jesus coalescing his ideas of nonviolent resistance. In what can only be described as an extraordinary feat at the time, he single-handedly managed to lead the country to a peaceful independence, on following a non-violent resistance movement, breaking the heavy chains of oppression from the British Empire; at the time, the world’s greatest superpower. He also oversaw the peaceful breakup from the Muslim population, thus avoiding the horrors of a fratricidal civil war, which would go on to form their own country (Pakistan). Through Gandhi's peaceful actions, in both South Africa and India, he would go on to influence civil right movements and freedom activists the world over, including historically relevant figures such as Reverend Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, both awarded with the Peace Nobel Prize. The Peace Nobel Prize for 1948 was never awarded because sadly "there was no suitable living candidate". In a dark century, full of giants and great historical figures, Gandhi towers above them all, a shining beacon of Humanity. He is arguably the greatest historical figure of the 20th century.

 

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Article also published at Spanish Property Insight: New law for the protection and wellbeing of animals

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