The legislation changes Spain's Civil Code and broadly applies to all animals, whether they are domesticated or wild. Animals were already recognized as sentient beings, with rights and interests that must be taken into account, in European law.
XOSE HERMIDA: Animals in Spain will no longer be considered as “objects” by the law thanks to new legislation passed on Thursday by Spain’s lower house, the Congress of Deputies. From now on, animals will be treated as “sentient beings,” and as such will have a different legal standing than an inanimate object. They will no longer be able to be seized, abandoned, mistreated or separated from one of their owners in the case of a divorce or separation, without having their wellbeing and protection taken into account.
The new law to modify the legal framework of animals was approved on Thursday with wide support from Spain’s Congress – only the far-right Vox party voted against the measure. The legislation changes the Civil Code, Mortgage Law and Civil Procedure Law, and broadly applies to all animals, whether they are domesticated or wild.
Animals were already recognized as sentient beings, with rights and interests that must be taken into account, in European law, regional administrative laws and even Spain’s Criminal Code. But this recognition was not present in the Spanish Civil Code, which covers issues relating to property, family and obligations. This meant that lawyers did not have a legal basis to address certain problems, such as what to do with pets in divorce cases.
“It’s a step forward and it says that in separations and divorces, the arrangement that will be applied to the animals will take into account not only the interests of the humans, but also of the animal,” explained María González Lacabex, from INTERcids, a legal organization specializing in animal protection. We are the only species that recognizes the suffering of others and as such we have an obligation to prevent that suffering…
Most of Spain’s congressional parties, however, welcomed the law’s approval. “It’s a moral victory in a country where 200,000 animals are abandoned each year,” said Juantxo López de Uralde, from Unidas Podemos… The sole voice of dissent came from Vox lawmaker Ángel López Maraver, who is the former president of the Spanish Hunting Federation. He described the law as “insanity, nonsense, stupidity. It humanizes animals and dehumanizes man”. SOURCE…