Protect hunting dogs, bulls and laboratory animals! Spanish animal rights party PACMA leads opposition to ‘shameful’ law
The new animal protection law in the making in Spain threatens to exclude the majority of animals in this country from protection and weaken rather than strengthen their position. Wild animals, bulls, laboratory animals and hunting dogs are offered no protection in this bill. The Spanish animal rights party PACMA is calling on the government to withdraw this bill, and is campaigning all across the country. MEP Anja Hazekamp of the Dutch Party for the Animals has also brought the very cruel fate of hunting dogs in Spain to the attention of the European Parliament and is appealing to the Spanish government to decide against excluding these animals from this bill.
The new law – the very first national law on the protection of animals to be adopted in Spain – is supposed to bring together the many the different regional animal protection laws. Spanish animal rights party PACMA stresses that although a national law is badly needed, the current bill is completely inadequate and even represents a big step backwards for the vast majority of animals. The proposal only protects domestic animals and wild animals held in captivity, to the exclusion of wild animals and animals used for bullfighting, experiments and production purposes. Moreover, a proposal was adopted at the end of December under pressure from the hunting lobby to exclude hunting dogs and other animals used in hunting, such as pigeons and mink, from the bill as well.
Stop the cruel exploitation of hunting dogs
The Spanish Animal Rights Party has spoken out vehemently against the law from the start. Particularly the proposal to exclude hunting dogs was met with strong protests from animal welfare groups and the party. Hunting dogs in Spain are bred and kept under cruel conditions and are at high risk of injury while hunting. Each year, some 50,000 hunting dogs are abandoned after being injured, or brutally killed when they are no longer “useful”. PACMA has therefore been campaigning against the proposal in recent months through demonstrations all across the country, online calls asking people to sign a petition against the exclusion of these animals, and letters to the Spanish government and European Parliament.
MEP Anja Hazekamp too has pleaded for attention for the plight of hunting dogs in Spain in recent years. As the president of the European Intergroup on Animal Welfare, she wrote to the Spanish government at the end of 2021 calling for an end to the abuse of dogs and other animals used for hunting, pointing out that these practices are diametrically opposed to European values. In recent years, she repeatedly asked questions in the European Parliament concerning the mistreatment of galgos and podencos – breeds widely used as hunting dogs – in Spain, and called on the European Commission to put pressure on the Spanish government. “Galgos are no less sensitive than any other breed of dogs, and the way they are treated is far below EU animal welfare standards,” Anja Hazekamp said.
Even through the proposal to exclude hunting dogs has been adopted, the battle is not over yet. PACMA continues to campaign tirelessly against this, and has also announced demonstrations all across the country in January. In a new letter to coalition party Podemos (the bill’s initiator), PACMA urges it to withdraw the bill. “Even without excluding dogs used as hunting tools, the law is shamefully deficient in comparison to regional laws adopted decades ago,” PACMA said. “This does not in any way resemble the law so desperately needed by animals and which the animal rights movement has been demanding for decades.”