Hunters want exceptions in Spain.
Several hunting associations in Spain do not want their dogs, that they use to hunt, to be included under the new laws against animal cruelty. The problem for many hunters is that, thanks to the new standards, the hunting dogs are also seen as pets, which means they have to comply with special rules that, in the eyes of the hunters, do not apply to the hunting dogs.
It also seems that the hunters are going to get their way, at least in the autonomous state of Castilla-La Mancha where, in February, an "exception" was included in the new law on animal protection, so that hunting dogs fall outside it. Also in the state of Comunidad Valenciana there are plans to make such an exception for the hunters.
The Federación de Caza or the Federation of Hunters in Spain wants a new category for the hunting dogs so that they do not have to meet the same requirements as those of the dogs that are seen as pets. There should then be a special category for hunting and working dogs. According to the hunters, it is not only hunting dogs that should be exempt but also dogs used by shepherds, police dogs and sled dogs.
In addition, the hunters want a change in the description "abandoned animal". The hunters want to prevent themselves from being guilty of abandoning their dogs if they are lost during a hunt. The hunters do not have to keep their dogs on the leash, something that is logical otherwise the hunting dog can not carry out his / her task.
The hunters want more exceptions such as allowing the use of electronic collars, the exclusion of compulsory living with the dogs (many hunting dogs live in the field or in barns and not in house with a hunter) and the exclusion of the need to ask for a permit if an activity is going to take place with animals, like hunting.
Meanwhile, various associations of animal activists have started campaigns on the internet and on the street under the heading "Los perros de caza también son perros" or 'the hunting dogs are also dogs' and the hashtag # LosPerrosDeCazaTambiénSonPerros on Twitter.
There has been rising tension between animal activists and hunters for weeks or months and regularly it comes to confrontations, insults and threats on the internet or in real life. Hunters complain about the fact that they are all seen as animal abusers and demand more respect, and have also held events, such as the last one on 15 April, in which 40 cities in Spain have seen tens of thousands of hunters on the streets.
Written by Remco Stoffer on behalf of SpainSites.nl.