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Knowledge Base #27 New Animal Laws in Spain

Spain has recently introduced a new animal welfare law that came into effect on 29th September 2023 

The primary goal of this law is to combat the mistreatment, abandonment, and slaughter of animals.


The law applies to all animals, whether domestic or wild, under human care.


The legislation introduces stricter regulations for pet owners and prohibits the use of spikes, electric shock collars, or tethering animals to moving motor vehicles. It also bans circuses featuring animals (with exceptions for popular bull-related festivities) and the sale of pets in commercial pet stores.


The law requires dog owners to complete a free online training course and obtain liability insurance (to be enforced when a new government is formed)  Shipping companies, airlines, and trains are obligated to facilitate pet access while ensuring the safety and proper behavior of the animals.

Restrictions on leaving pets unattended for extended periods have been implemented, and there is a maximum limit of five pets per owner.


Euthanasia is prohibited except under veterinary criteria.


Measures have been implemented to control pet breeding, including mandatory identification via microchip and sterilization for cats. Notably, certain animals such as dangerous or poisonous species and large wild mammals and reptiles (excluding turtles) are no longer allowed to be kept as pets in homes.


Individuals found guilty of animal abuse may face imprisonment for a period exceeding one year, potentially extending up to 36 months in cases resulting in the death of an animal. Financial penalties ranging from 500 to 200,000 euros will also be imposed, varying based on the gravity of the violation.


Critics have pointed out that one of Spain’s most infamous national pastimes, bullfighting, remains unaffected by the new legislation.


In conclusion, Spain’s new animal welfare law is a significant step towards protecting animals from mistreatment and abuse. The law introduces stricter regulations for pet owners and prohibits certain practices that can cause harm to animals. However, critics have pointed out that more needs to be done to address issues such as bullfighting. It remains to be seen how effective this new legislation will be in practice.


You can find a full and more detailed description of the laws in English on the link below:


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