SPAIN’S government has unveiled plans for a national ID scheme for domestic animals as part of a far-reaching animal welfare reform bill.

The new animal welfare legislation will act as a sort of bill of rights for animals giving them an elevated status of a ‘sentient being’ above that of a possession, which is the current legal status.

It will see stricter punishments for those guilty of animal abuse and includes strict guidelines on the care of domestic pets, from how many you can keep in your home, to how long they can be left alone.

Part of the legislation currently being reviewed is the need for animals to have a unique ID to be included on a national database that will make it easier to register and identify the animal’s owner.

Ione Belarra, the Minister of Social Rights, whose department is overseeing the new bill, the identification of domestic animals will serve “to guarantee that we are on the right path and have a model where no animal is left helpless in Spain”.

The pet ID will work in conjunction with a microchip that is already compulsory for owners of dogs and cats and will include essential information such as breed, date of birth, details of owner.

Charles Deluvio K4msj7kc0as Unsplash 1
Pets may need to pose for photos for ID cards. Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

But it is unclear how the new ID document will differ from the health certificate booklet already issued by vets to responsible owners in Spain.

This already shows the microchip number plus vaccination records of the animal.

For those who take their pets across borders with the EU, the health booklet can be issued in the form of a pet passport.

It is understood that the new ID for pets system will allow for a record to be kept of any mistreatment suffered by the animal and to make it easier to locate the owner of the animal in cases of abandonment.

It may also include a photo of the animal in the same way that Spain’s National Identity Card has for humans.

The draft bill is set to be discussed by Spain’s Council of Ministers in November before being present for parliamentary debate.

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