In Spain, pets are now considered “family members” – exemption

Act for the livingdossier

A new law that comes into force on Wednesday makes these companions “full-fledged beings” with their own legal status. A mini-revolution in a country that has sometimes attracted attention for its cruelty to animals.

Animals are no longer “things” or “objects”, but rather “Sentient Beings”. The law passed in December that allows cats, dogs and other pets has been in effect since Wednesday “Full-fledged beings”, officially entered into force in Spain. These now have their own legal status. This little revolution requires changes in three normative texts, including the Civil Code.

Exclusion of inheritance

Thanks to the new legislation, pets are now considered real family members. A reality that screams the ultra-right of Vox, the only group that has explicitly opposed a law that reflects the evolution of Spanish society’s attitude towards animals. “This law is a wrong path that disregards the traditional family concept and puts son and dog on the same level”, In December, the MP Angel López Maraver was scandalized in parliament.

From now on, in the case of divorce between two spouses, the judge must take into account the fate of a possible pet such as a child when deciding on joint custody. He can also oblige one of the two spouses to take over the costs for the care and maintenance of the animal, which is considered to be “Animal Aid” by some critics of the legislation. In addition, if one of the spouses is shown to be responsible for the mistreatment of the animal, the animal should be kept away from them. Registering a cat, dog or parrot in an inheritance is no longer an option, as is a piece of furniture or a material good, as was previously the case.

“Entchosification of living beings”

“This historical change marks the end of the cruel treatment of humans towards animals and especially towards those who live with us”, Underlined the Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, a member of the left-wing radical Unidas Podemos party and the main initiator of the law. “It was about decosing beings that live, suffer, and feel.” In the eyes of Nuria Menéndez, Director of the Justice and Animal Welfare Observatory, “It is an act of justice that corrects an anachronism. The law gives them the status of a living person who thinks and feels..

This new text is the result of a broad political consensus, as in 2015 the conservative right, with the consent of the left, collected half a million signatures and promoted a popular initiative for legislative reform (ILP). The only reservation expressed today by the People’s Party, the main opposition formation, is that in the event of a divorce “Considering the fate of pets makes that of children more difficult”.

In addition to the Civil Code, the Mortgage Act was also changed (an animal can no longer be involved in a seizure like any other “Object”) and in civil proceedings (in the event of a traffic accident, for example, an animal no longer has the status of a suitcase).

Bullfight put aside

The law comes into force in a country that has always been characterized by its cruelty to animals. In the fall, the Pacma Animal Party listed dozens of communities whose traditional festivals include animal abuse, such as goose racing, drafting, horse racing, and of course, festive activities where the scene of bulls exposed to human whims is highlighted, as in Tordesillas or in the Ebro- Delta. The Association for the Defense of Animal Rights, Adda, denounced “The Terrible Abuse of Animals” in areas related to experimentation, hunting or intensive breeding. And between 150,000 and 300,000 dogs would be abandoned from the same source each year.

Under the leadership of Unidas Podemos, the government wants to be even more ambitious with a second bill on pets. This provides for the prohibition to leave a dog alone for longer than 24 hours (3 days for another pet), to buy one of these animals in a shop or to sacrifice a pet, except “Compelling Reason”. In addition, a digital identification document is required for each of the 10 million pets. “To exercise better control and better traceability”. Significantly, the legislature has abolished bullfighting, which is banned in the Canary Islands and Catalonia, an issue that deeply divides the country between those who see it as a practice from another time and those who see it as a cultural and historical asset.

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