Animals now ‘living beings’, no longer owner’s ‘property’

Outside Spain's Congress, a dog takes a break with its human companion, no longer considered its "owner". Photo: El País
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► Congress approves reform, freeing animals from status of private property ►

Spain’s Congress unanimously approved legislation on Tuesday that legally recognizes animals in Spain as “living beings” rather than private property belonging to an individual or corporation.

The new legislation put forward by Deputies of the conservative governing Partido Popular (PP) modifes Spain’s Civil Code, the Mortgage Law and the Law of Civil Procedure to free pets and other animals from being considered property subject to seizure in the case of civil lawsuits involving debt settlements, distribution of goods in the case of divorce settlements or automatic inheritance in the case of the settlement of the estate of its “owner”.

The legislation agreed Tuesday brings Spain into line with similar legislation in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Portugal, which have already eliminated from their civil codes consideration of animals as property belonging to an “owner” and defining them as living beings.

It also marks another victory in Congress this year for animal-rights activists. In March, Congress voted to ban the cropping of animals tails for strictly aesthetic reasons, along with the cropping of ears, cutting vocal chords and removal of claws and teeth, finally putting Spain in line with the 1987 European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals.

► Read More in Spanish at El País and El Mundo …

► Read More in English at EuroWeekly News and International Business Times …

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