• Spain's news in English

'Health minister must quit over Excalibur death'

George Mills · 29 Oct 2014, 11:14

Published: 29 Oct 2014 11:14 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Nearly 100,000 people have signed the petition put together by animal rights group PACMA calling for the health minister to quit after nursing assistant Teresa Romero's dog Excalibur was killed.

The petition to be presented in parliament at 12pm on Wednesday also calls for for Madrid health boss Javier Rodríguez and top official Julio Zarco to step down for their role in the animal's death.

The dog was put down earlier in October over concerns it could spread the deadly disease  — a move which led to angry confrontations between police and protesters outside Romero's home.  

The decision to kill the animal even provoked a global Twitter campaign with people posting pictures of their own dogs alongside messages of support for Excalibur.

"Teresa's dog Excalibur was sacrificed despite the opposition of her owners, thousands of citizens and experts, without evening knowing if it has been infected (with Ebola) and knowing that there are no studies which show that Ebola can be transmitted from dogs to humans," Pacma said in a statement.

For many people in Spain, the death of Excalibur symbolized the authorities' poor reaction to a crisis brought on when nursing assistant Teresa Romero contracted the disease after treating two Spanish missionaries infected with the virus who had been repatriated with the virus.    

She has since recovered, although she remains in isolation at Madrid's Carlos III hospital as a precaution.

The crisis saw health professionals calling for Spain's health minister Ana Mato to resign over claims they were poorly trained and inadequately equipped to treat cases of the virus. 

Madrid health boss Javier Rodríguez also came under fire after he suggested Romero may have responsible for contracting Ebola by incorrectly following hospital procedures. He also suggested the nursing assistant lied about the state of her health before finally being quarantined — claims fervently denied by her husband Javier Limón.  

The Pacma petition will be presented just hours after after the Spanish government voted against an opposition petition calling for her resignation in the wake of Spain's Ebola crisis.The lower house of Spain's party, where the ruling Popular Party has an overwhelming majority, voted against a Socialist-led plan to have Mato ejected from office.

Story continues below…

The petition saw most of Spain's opposition groups banding together in a bid to see Mato go over "massive errors" in her management of Spain's Ebola crisis.

The Spanish government rejected the calls, and Mato will remain in office. 

The Popular Party did, however, unofficially demoted Mato during Spain's recent Ebola crisis, placing Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría at the head of an emergency government committee to deal with the control of the virus. 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available