Madrid updates their animal welfare laws, including the ban of prong, choke and shock collars

The-greatness-of-a-nation-and-its-moral-progress-can-be-judged-by-the-way-its-animals-are-treated-Mahatma-GandhiOn Wednesday, 10th August, the Comunidad de Madrid released a newsletter with updated laws regarding the treatment of animals in the province.

Among the list of prohibitions is included a ban on using choke, prong, or electric collars that can cause harm to an animal. The usage of these collars is seen as an “infracción grave” (serious offence) and if prosecuted, the owner or handler of the animal can receive fines between €3,001 and €9,000. In extreme cases, the animals can be taken from the owners, and in the case of establishments breaking the law, they can be closed down for up to five years in the case of a minor offence, and between five and ten years for more serious offences.

What will be interesting to see is if establishments like pet-shops and online stores will be allowed to continue selling the tools even though they’ve been made illegal, and if trainers will continue to use them.

The new laws aim to take into consideration the protection and wellbeing of pets and company animals, irregardless of their situation. They also hope to:

a)educate responsible ownership

b)reduce abandonment

c) encourage adoption

d) encourage castration and reduce over-population and abandonment by encouraging responsible purchase, sale and breeding of animals

e) promote educational activities about animal welfare

f) promote volunteering and collaboration between animal rescues and the public

g) educate people about the beneficial role of animals in society

h) encourage animal training

i) create specific dog-friendly areas in all parts of the comunidad, urging all municipalities to provide said spaces

j) allow access to animals in establishments, facilities, transport, and other appropriate spaces, under the control of their handler

k) implement inspections to ensure the compliance with the afore-mentioned laws

l) promote castration and microchipping campaigns, establishing necessary contacts with veterinarians.

Unfortunately, the laws will not apply to animals used in bullfighting spectacles, wildlife, farm animals, zoo animals, or those used for experimentation under specific legislation.

Also prohibited are the following activities: 

  1. killing an animal
  2. abusing an animal
  3. abandoning an animal
    1. the breeding and sale of animals for commercial reasons, without proper permissions
  4. mutilating an animal for any reason other than a medical issue, or for castration, or for future benefits to the animal’s health. In all of the above cases, the procedure must be carried out by a veterinarian. These permitted procedures do not include mutilation for aesthetic purposes (ear cropping, tail docking…)
  5. putting an animal through aggressive or violent training, or preparing them for fighting
  6. Involving animals in fights or any type of aggression, including the organisation of fights or inciting them; allowing or not stopping an animal from attaching a person or another pet.
  7. not giving an animal the basic needs for its wellbeing; feeding them inappropriately, or an inadequate diet, or food that is not authorised for consumption; keeping them in unhygienic or unsanitary conditions where they are not protected from the elements, that don’t provide enough space, or due to the distance or characteristics of the space don’t allow for adequate attention, control and supervision of the animal, at least once a day.
  8. administering substances that can alter the state of health or behaviour of the animal, except in cases covered by current legislation or under veterinary supervision.
  9. keeping an animal permanently tied-up or enclosed or for a time or in conditions that can harm the animal or cause suffering, or keep them isolated from human or animal contact, in the case of them being gregarious species.
  10. possessing an animal without adequately identifying them according to law.
  11. exhibiting animals in leisure premises.
  12. begging with animals.
  13. giving animals as compensation, prizes, or raffling them.
  14. using animals in carousels at fairs.
  15. using animals in fairs, exhibitions, competitions, shows, filming, photo sessions, or cinematography with the intention of publicity or any other similar activity without permission of the City Council in the municipality where the action is taking place.
  16. using animals for filming non-simulated scenes for cinema, television or internet, artistic or publicity reasons, that carry out cruelty, mistreatment, death or animal suffering.
  17. keeping more than 5 animals in one residence when they are cats, dogs, or any other species determined by regulation unless the corresponding City Council authorises it.
  18. keeping animals in stationary vehicles without adequate ventilation and temperature.
  19. permanently keeping an animal in a car.
  20. transporting animals in the boot of a car that has not been specifically designed for the purpose.
  21. transporting animals tied to a moving car.
  22. shooting or attacking animals with any form of a gun or weapon that may put their life at risk. The only exceptions are outlined in the original document in artículo 9.
  23. using choke, prong or electric collars that can cause damage to animals.
  24. keeping animals outlined in the Anexo of the document, except in registered zoos, or in areas specifically authorised by the Comunidad de Madrid.
  25. moving bound animals as a precautionary measure.
  26. using company animals for human or animal consumption.

The article outlines a lot more laws regarding identification, control of breeding and sale of animals, usage of animals etc… It’s definitely worth a look if you speak Spanish. You can find it here.

If the laws are actually implemented, this will be a huge step forward for Spain, a country which up until now has had a questionable past regarding animal rights. For now, let’s keep changing the world, one pawprint at a time.