The Valencian Community, an autonomous region in eastern Spain, has approved a new animal welfare law that bans wild animals in circuses and protects companion animals, including hunting dogs. On 22nd February 2023, the Valencian Parliament passed the Animal Welfare Law of the Valencian Community, replacing the previous law that was almost 30 years old. The new law imposes penalties of up to 45,000 euros for the most serious cases of abuse and regulates the sale and breeding of companion animals, something that will be limited to authorized professionals.
This law also bans the unjustified killing of companion animals and prioritises their adoption, registration and identification, with a period of six months for custodians to register them. The sanctions range from one hundred to 3,000 euros for minor offences such as not properly attending to the animals, not registering them, or not removing their faeces when left in public spaces, to higher fines with the possibility of confiscating the animals in cases of killing them or mistreating them. Keeping animals permanently tied, giving them drugs without veterinary supervision, not giving them enough food or water, raising or selling them without a license, leaving them in cars without supervision, or training them to fight, are also activities that will now be banned.
Unlike the controversial animal protection law recently passed in the Spanish Congress, the Valencian law includes hunting dogs and considers them companion animals. In addition, certain sports activities that involve the cruel treatment of animals are prohibited, as well as travelling circuses with wild animals.
Aïda Gascón, director of the animal protection organisation AnimaNaturalis, said to El Pais: “The Valencian law is a step forward and places the Community at the level of the most advanced Spanish autonomic regions in terms of animal protection.”