YOU can poison, shoot or hang a dog in Spain and you won’t go to prison for it. Nowadays, nobody gets jailed for crimes related to animal abuse.
As long as fines for abandonment or cruelty remain under €300, harming animals will still be virtually ‘free’ for abusers.
More than 150,000 cats and dogs are abandoned each year in Spain, where the law lacks teeth to stop their abandonment and systematic sacrifice in regional and local pounds.
Despite all these negatives, at PACMA – a political party set up in 2003 to lobby for animal rights – we believe there is an encouraging future for animals.
Last July, thanks to our activism, the Criminal Procedure Code was modified to add graduated penalties linked to the degree of harm caused to the animal.
A small but significant first step.
We are aware that most Spaniards are strongly against the mistreatment of animals, whether their own or those used in traditional festivals, where bulls are teased and tortured or have their horns set on fire or are drowned in the sea for amusement.
Proof of the support for animal rights these days is the gain we made during the General Election with 220,000 votes for Congress and more than a million for the Senate.
These thousands of voices endorse our endless work in highlighting the plight of many animals in our country – a situation that is systematically ignored by other political parties.
Last September, our supporters filled Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, in a massive and historical demonstration against the barbaric Toro de la Vega ‘celebration’, in which hundreds chase a lone bull through the streets, jabbing it with spears until they kill it.
Last week, through a campaign that harnessed social, legal and political pressure, we were able to stop the citizens of Cazalilla – a small town in Jaen – from holding their annual ritual of tossing a turkey from the bell tower of their church.
This festival may have been part of our past, but it has no place in our future.
It’s time for more brave actions in defense of animals and the next government to come to power listens to our battlecry!