November 04, 2017

Why are animals still sold in shops in Spain?


A new law in California in the United States has recently banned the sale of animals in stores. These animals, mostly dogs and cats, must now be replaced by animals offered for adoption. In Spain, many animal rights organizations, including the political party for the Pacma animals, want a similar law in the country. Something that is proving to be quite difficult for the moment as long as the mentality of the current politicians will not change.

Immediately after the adoption of this law in the United States, someone in Spain decided to launch an action on to demand a similar law in Spain. This law states that the only animals that may be sold in stores should be from animal shelters and dogs and cats are therefore given adoption. This is to prevent trafficking in the dogs and cats that are being bred in unfavorable conditions and subsequently sold. The action on has already received more than 129,900 signatures of the 150.00 needed to present to the government.

Almost but ...

In 2014 Spain almost had a law similar to California but the Rajoy Conservative government prevented it and managed to reduce it to no more than a guide to good practices but without any legal validity. Under pressure from the European Union, a few months ago Spain finally signed the European Convention on the Protection of Animals.


At present, the state of Comunidad de Madrid is the only region in Spain where there is a law concerning animal protection, which prohibits, inter alia, selling animals in stores. That is, animals may not be physically present in the store but may still be sold through a catalogue. In the provinces of Catalonia and Galicia, it is forbidden to sell puppies displayed in the shop window but they may still be present in the stores.


According to the animal protection officers in Spain, the new law in California is a courageous measure because these merchants and breeders will work against it. In Spain, we are light years away from /a similar law where the bred animals are replaced by shelter animals for adoption. In Spain, the mentality of many politicians does not permit them to go so far and they are not open, partly due to the pressure from the associations of pet stores, animal breeders, etc., to taking far-reaching steps at nationally and national level. What is more common here is to regulate such laws at regional and autonomous levels as in Madrid, Galicia and Catalonia.


Nevertheless, a similar law, such as that in the United States, will not have such a significant impact on the activities of Spanish breeders because 90% of the animals sold in shops are from Eastern Europe. According to the data of the Sociedad Canina, 61,524 races are registered in Spain, a figure that has fallen over the last five years, in contrast to the 104,447 lost dogs, according to the FundaciĆ³n  Affinity.

Official figures are not available for Spain, but of the more than 5,000 pet stores in Spain about 25% to 30% of the sales come from the sale of animals. Nevertheless it is clear that a possible ban on selling animals in stores would solve the problem of irresponsible and impulsive buying of animals, which would ultimately reduce the number of dogs and cats being. However, only 5% of abandoned animals come from stores because these dogs must sold with microchips. 95% of abandoned dogs do not have a family tree and, in most cases, do not have the required chip.


However, if you go to Mil Anuncio's - the largest website in Spain - and click on dogs or cats for sale, you'll soon get 114,000 results. These animals are sold for 200 euros via the internet while they cost 500 euros in the stores. Even in the case of these animals, they often come from Eastern European countries and are bred in dire conditions.

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