► Move to exclude hunting dogs from new regional animal-protection law ►
The regional government of Castilla-La Mancha has bowed to the demands of hunters, excluding from proposed animal-protection legislation greyhounds and other dog breeds used to chase down prey during hunting season.
The move has been denounced by the Spanish Federation for Animal Welfare (FEBA, Federación Española para el Bienestar Animal) as an “absurd and unjustifiable discrimination” against dogs, leaving them completely “defenseless and without legal protection against certain cruel and abusive practices” by hunters.
FEBA and other animal-rights groups have long protested greyhounds, podencos and other breeds being used by hunters in Spain to chase down prey during hunting season, then abandoned and sometimes maimed and left to die as part of sacrificial rituals believed to bring hunters good luck.
FEBA has launched a petition at Change.org to protest the changes to the draft regional Law on the Welfare, Protection and Defense of Animals that will be sent by the administration of Socialist party regional president Emiliano García-Page to the Castilla-La Mancha assembly for final approval.
Originally, the law was to have applied the same protective measures to all animals, including those used in hunting, and would also have required the sterilization of dog breeds used by hunters as a means of restricting the unregulated breeding of the animals.
► Sign FEBA’s petition to stop exclusion of hunting dogs from Castilla-La Mancha’s animal-protection law …
But two regional associations of hunters in Castilla-La Mancha that prevailed on the government to remove the language on sterilization of hunting dogs have celebrated the changes as a victory. A spokesman for one association said the regional hunting lobby has successfully “avoided animal-rights activists from using ambiguous and general wording to do away with hunting with dogs” in the regional community.
FEBA says the discrimination against dog breeds in the animal-welfare legislation would contravene the terms of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, of which Spain is a signatory, and promised legal action against the Castilla-La Mancha community if hunting dogs are exempted from the final legislation.
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