The local pet industry warns that some provisions, such as the sales ban on cats and dogs in pet stores, will impact business.
Spain has recently adopted a new regulation governing animal rights and welfare protection in the country. The Animal Welfare Law (Ley de Bienestar Animal) brings stricter rules for pet owners, including the obligation of not leaving animals unattended for a certain amount of time.
The Spanish Association of Distributors of Pet Products (AEDPAC) believes the numerous new legal provisions will negatively impact the pet industry. “The new welfare law has left everyone unhappy, and it will be very difficult to apply,” warns AEDPAC’s Chairman Adolfo Santa Olalla in an interview with GlobalPETS.
Olalla forecasts that there will be no choice but to modify the current law in the near future.
Sale of animals and pet ownership
The new law establishes that arthropods, fish, amphibians that may pose a risk and poisonous reptiles should not be kept as pets in Spain.
It also bans pet stores from selling cats, dogs and ferrets—only registered breeders will be allowed to sell them.
The industry warns that these restrictive rules could lead to increased activity on the black market. AEDPAC’s Chairman highlights that the new law has only been in force for a few days, so not enough time has passed to see any increase in black market sales, but he believes it will definitely happen, especially with dogs, cats, ferrets and reptiles.
The new legislation bans the online sale of animals, which the industry considers a positive move. “Most of the illegal sales of animals are through the internet, so now this will be more difficult to execute,” says Olalla
Online course and pet insurance
However, 2 provisions in the bill have been temporarily left on hold until a new government comes into office.
The first is the provision establishing that every Spanish dog owner will need to undertake a free online training course to verify they are responsible pet owners.
The second is the obligation of dog owners to take out insurance for all dog breeds.
Luís Manuel Halcon Guardiola, Co-Founder & CEO of insurance company Petplan Ibérica, believes there is a need for a specific bylaw that gives more details about which kind of policy is needed and establishes the minimum liability for the insurance policy.
The average cost of a third-party liability policy is between €40–€50 ($42–$52) a year.
Other European countries, such as France, banned the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores and online in 2021.
The Belgian region of Wallonia announced last year that pet owners would need a license to legally own a pet. According to the law, acquiring an animal without presenting the relevant documents is punishable, and the animal can be confiscated immediately.
Under the new Spanish law, all cats will have to be microchipped before they are 6 months old. The UK will make microchipping mandatory for cats from June 2024, while Japan and Turkey adopted similar regulations in 2022 and 2021, respectively.
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