ANIMAL abuse crimes have shot up 400% in the last decade in Spain, figures from the Guardia Civil’s environmental arm Seprona suggest.

The dramatic rise in environmental crimes in general – of which crimes against animals are a part – has also seen a massive increase since figures began to be recorded in the mid 2000s.

But while the figures are shocking, a leading environmental group has said the increase has much to do with the improved ‘effectiveness’ of Spain’s judicial system.

“The data may be reflecting the specialisation and better training of environmental agents, Seprona and environmental prosecutors, which is allowing police forces to gather greater knowledge of the crimes being committed and to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said David de la Bodega, responsible for the SEO / BirdLife Legal Program in Spain.

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Since 2008, investigations into animal abuse have increased eight-fold, from just 108 to 914 in 2017.

The number of prison sentences has also increased 14 times in the same period, from just 11 to 163.

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