what it is and keys to the future law

In February, the Council of Ministers approved the processing of the Animal Protection, Rights and Welfare Law. A rule that aims to advance to zero abuse, sacrifice and abandonment and that includes, among other measures, the creation of a ID for pets. Now, the General Director of Animal Rights, Sergio García Torres, hopes that by the end of the year the parliamentary process will be completedso in 2023 it could enter into force.

Other proposals in the draft presented by the Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda are the prohibition of private animal husbandry, the launch of the State Council for Animal Protection and the creation of an Animal Protection Plan that would be renewed every three years. Discover in RTVE.es these and others keys of the future law, which, if passed, would be the first regulation at the state level of animal protection.

What is the animal ID?

Article 10 of the draft Law on the Protection, Rights and Welfare of animals regulates the new Central System of Records for Animal Protection, also known as animal DNI. And, without a doubt, it is what most attracts the attention of the preliminary project. It is a digital document that foreseeably would reach citizens via email and that it would serve to access a national registry where one can Quickly know the data of the animals, regardless of the autonomous community from which the query is made.

In other words, if a dog got lost and reached another autonomous territory, it would be possible to quickly contact its owners despite the fact that the pet had been registered in another province, something that had not happened until now, according to the general director of Animal Rights. Nor would it be necessary to use a microchip reader to access the information, since it could be provided in a QR code which could also be carried on the animal’s own tag.

The system would be made up of the Registry of Animal Protection Entities, the Registry of Animal Behavior Professionals, the Registry of Companion Animals, the Registry of Companion Animal Zoological Nuclei and the Breeders’ Registry.

How much would it cost and where would it be requested?

The animal DNI would not cost anything. “It will be absolutely gratuitous“, Torres points out. This would be sent to the owners of the animals once they had implanted the microchip usual. Furthermore, it would not entail any further formalities: it would be automatic and you would not have to go anywhere to request it. “You don’t have to go to the police station to register the dog,” jokes Torres, who emphasizes that it is a complementary tool to the existing ones, the European passport and the microchip.

When would the DNI for pets be in operation?

The draft is still pending a second round in the Council of Ministers, after the process of allegations (it has received more than 6,000), which could arrive throughout the summer. The ministry anticipates that its parliamentary process will also end at the end of the year, so the DNI for pets could arrive in 2023. “It would arrive a few six months after the publication of the law in the Official State Gazette”, explains the General Director of Animal Rights to RTVE.es.

But… hadn’t it already come into force?

No. At the beginning of the year, the Mortgage Law and the Law of Civil Procedure, a norm that established the new consideration of animals as “sentient beings”. The text mentioned the animal identification registry, an idea associated with the animal DNI, but provided for in the Law on the Protection and Rights of Animals. Then he started running hoax that the DNI for pets had been approved and had come into operation, something that Verifica RTVE has already denied.

What animals would be excluded from the law?

The draft published on March 8 excludes from the scope of application of the rule those animals used in bullfighting showsthose of production and to the animals wild. The latter are governed by the provisions of the Natural Heritage and Biodiversity Law (42/2007). However, the owner could decide to register a production animal as a companion animal in the registry provided.

There would also be a positive list of species that can be kept as a pet (article 44). Inclusion in said list would be adjusted to criteria such as the existence of documentation on the maintenance and care of the species and the ease of keeping it in captivity in adequate conditions.

In addition, only species for which there are no indications or evidence that, in case of escape, they can survive in nature, will be part of it, thus assuming a ecological risk. Nor will those dangerous to humans or those protected be included in the list.

Could they still buy pets?

The main objective of the bill is to regulate the behavior of human beings with respect to pets and, in this sense, it establishes a series of duties and obligations for owners. One of them is the imitation of breeding and sale of pets. These would no longer be available in stores, except for fish, and only certified professionals could breed. “This will be done to avoid unwanted breeding and subsequent abandonment or sacrifice,” specifies the draft. For this reason, if two animals of the opposite sex live in the same place, they must proceed to the sterilization.

What other prohibitions does the rule contemplate?

To protect animals, various prohibitions are included in article 32. One of the most striking is the proposal of the “zero sacrifice”, which seeks to end the indiscriminate and unjustified sacrifice of pets. If the norm is approved, a companion animal could only be euthanized under veterinary criteria and control and with the sole purpose of avoiding its suffering or for security reasons.

It would also be forbidden to practice any kind of mutilation or body modification to pets, except those necessary to ensure their health or to limit or nullify their reproductive capacity. In any case, it should be accredited by means of a report from a registered veterinary professional. use them in fights or similar practice, use in them tools that cause damage, keep them permanently in yardsbasements or balconies and carrying them tied to a moving vehicle would also be prohibited.

Nor would it be possible to leave the pets unsupervised for three days consecutive, a period of time that could not exceed 24 hours in the case of dogs.

What would dog owners be obligated to?

According to article 35 of the draft, specifically the owners of the dogs must take an accredited training course for the possession of these animals. It would be an education free and brief, says Torres, which aims to make the responsibility of having a pet to reduce the rate of abandonment due to loss of interest in the animal, for example. In addition, they must sign a liability insurance.

What organs would be created to protect animals?

In the first place, the bill proposes the creation of the State Animal Protection Council as an advisory body. Article 19 of the draft also provides a National Animal Protection Plan, an instrument for the establishment and definition of actions and objectives aimed at eradicating animal abuse and promoting its protection, which would be drawn up every three years. Within it, it would also include a National Plan Against Animal Abuse and a National Plan Against Abandonment.

On the other hand, the norm wants to launch a Animal Protection Statistics, which has the objective of knowing the state of animal protection in the whole of Spanish society in order to be able to make decisions for its evaluation and improvement. For this improvement, a Animal Protection Fund, whose initial endowment would be charged to the budget of the Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda.

Likewise, article 26 details that the autonomous communities must have, at least, their own animal protection centerand 27 establishes that municipalities with more than five thousand inhabitants must have animal protection centers, their own or concerted.

What does the rule say about feline colonies?

In its article 51, the draft of the norm establishes the obligation to develop Feline Colony Ethical Management Programs that include, among other things, the promotion of citizen collaboration for the care of urban cats and the establishment of ethical population control plans, based on the sterilization and the return of the animals to their colony. A proposal that has caused a stir, as part of the scientific community considers that these animals put biodiversity at risk by being predators, for example, of small birds. However, the General Director of Animal Rights assures that the inclusion of urban cats in the law will not harm the environment and that this point has been drafted “more understandably”.

Is the law likely to pass?

This is what the Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda hopes. One of the things that makes you think like this is the more than 6,000 allegations received that, according to Torres, ask for “a much more protectionist rule”, which reveals the feeling of society and the need for this law. However, there is “a red line” on which there seems to be no absolute consensus. It’s about the inclusion of hunting dogs within the norm, which would protect and shelter them like the rest of the animals. Many allegations have criticized this aspect and, although Torres points out that “some exceptions” have been considered, the Ministry does not consider the exclusion of these animals. The truth is that, if approved in the second round of the Council of Ministers, it would still have to go through the amendments of the parliamentary groups, so the content could change.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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