The Government wants to extend the penalties for mistreating an animal to death to two years in prison

The first animal rights law reaches the Council of Ministers today. The Government is going to approve in the extraordinary meeting this Friday the bill, which now begins its process, which will be accompanied by a modification of the Penal Code to extend the penalties for animal abuse, according to sources from the Executive. The text punishes "animal abuse resulting in death" with up to 24 months in prison and up to 18 "if it involves veterinary care." In both cases, the disqualification to work or live with animals can reach five years.

The first animal rights law will prohibit their sale in stores and circuses with wild creatures

The first animal rights law will prohibit their sale in stores and circuses with wild creatures

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The Penal Code regulates the crimes of mistreatment of animals in its article 337, in which currently establishes a penalty for those who kill an animal of a maximum of 18 months, half a year less than the Government's proposal, and four years of disqualification. For its part, the basic type contemplates a sentence of three months and one day to one year in prison and disqualification for three years and, in its upper half, if there are aggravating circumstances such as doing it in the presence of a minor or if there is cruelty.

The criminal reform is approved this Friday as a preliminary bill, so, like the Draft Animal Protection, promoted by the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030, can still be modified. Both texts must still go through the advisory bodies and return to the Council of Ministers to start their process in the Cortes.

Towards "zero sacrifice"

The law has been being negotiated within the Government since last October, when the Ministry of Social Rights presented the first draft. The draft, which contemplated as a commitment the coalition agreement between the PSOE and United We Can, is the first law in Spain that regulates animal rights at the state level and deploys a battery of measures to promote their welfare and prevent abandonment.

Among them, the sale in pet stores is restricted, and also "its exhibition to the public" for commercial purposes, with penalties of 3,001 to 30,000 euros. It will be imposed on those who breed pet animals without authorization, since it plans to restrict it to authorized breeders. The slaughter of animals is also prohibited, except for incurable disease, or for health or environmental reasons, and doing so in public will be sanctioned with fines that can reach 600,000 euros.

The text also establishes the obligation for pets that at least all members of the same species and of the same sex be sterilized if they have access to the outside or live with others, unless they are professional breeders. It also prohibits the keeping of wild animals in private homes and prohibits the staging, for example in circuses, of wild animals. However, nothing contained in the law will be applicable to bullfighting.

Those who live with animals must fulfill several obligations: they will have to keep them in "dignified living conditions", provide them with veterinary treatment, monitor them and prevent their escape or treat them "with non-aggressive or violent methods". In addition, all must be identified. They may not be used as a publicity stunt or left unsupervised for three consecutive days; in the case of dogs, no more than 24 hours.

Breeding will be allowed only in the case of native animals; the draft prohibits it in the case of non-native savages, and also to trade with them, including in the case of zoos, except in the framework of programs for the maintenance of endangered species.

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