Spain has become the latest country to recognize animal consciousness as new legislation is passed.
The bill has been under consideration for a long time after it was first introduced in 2017.
He did not appear before Congress until earlier this year, and finally passed the Spanish Senate in September.
Under the bill, Spain has seen an amendment to the country’s civil code which recognizes that animals are “living beings of consciousness” and not “things” or “movable property”.
Wild animals are included in the new law, but the main focus is on providing more legal protection for pets, particularly in family disputes.
Spain’s new animal rights legislation
The new law was passed with majority approval, with the exception of the far-right Fox party, which opposed the legislation.
The law updates Spanish Civil Code, Mortgage Law and Code of Civil Procedure – regarding disputes over family and property.
In the event of a divorce or separation, the general welfare of the animal must first be addressed before it is separated from the animal’s owners.
The impact of the new law could be far-reaching, considering that around 30,000 married couples with pets are divorced each year in Spain, according to Euro Weekly News.
“It’s a step forward and says that in cases of separation and divorce, the order that will be applied to animals will take into account not only the interests of humans, but also the animal,” says Maria Gonzalez Lacapex of Intersides, an animal welfare organization.
More protection for animals
According to the green group Environmental scientists at workIn Spain, three animals are abandoned every five minutes – an average of 300,000 each year.
Under the new law, animals cannot be abandoned. They cannot be arrested or mistreated.
Moreover, companion animals and farm animals can no longer be confiscated as assets in case of unpaid debts.
The legislation also addresses the mental and physical health of pets.
The Animal Defense Fund quotes the bill: “Expenses for treating and caring for an injured or abandoned animal by a third party may be recovered by whoever paid them insofar as they were saved and even if they exceed the value of the animal.
“In the event that the injury of a pet causes its death or serious harm to its physical or psychological health, its owner and whoever lives with the animal are entitled to compensation for the moral damage caused.”
However, the new law does not address other cases of cruelty to animals, such as bullfighting.
The cruel practice of bullfighting has already been banned in at least 100 cities in Spain, according to animal rights group PETA. But it is still legal in the country.
Animal feeling around the world
Spain joins a growing list of countries recognizing animals as sentient beings.
In November, the UK amended the Animal Welfare Bill to give additional protection to Crustaceans and cephalopods, such as octopus and lobsters, their sensitivity had not previously been recognized.
Other countries that pass similar laws include France, Brussels, Australia and New Zealand.
Are you excited about pets? Read about the ethical adoption of animals in the UK.