Spain’s Senate has approved a law to ban the cruel practice across Spain in what is hailed as a victory for animal rights.
On March 16th the Spanish Congress had voted to pass the law, which will put Spain in line with the 1987 European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals.
But Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party (PP) had voted against the legislation, while the liberal Ciudadanos and Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) abstained, and there were fears that the PP would block the bill when it reached the Senate, thereby delaying it coming into law.
However, in a final u-turn, the PP said it would table any amendments to the bill, that would have meant it would be sent back to Congress for consideration before eventually coming into law anyway.
The practice of removing parts of a dog’s tail, known as docking, is often justified by hunters as a way to prevent the animal from collecting burrs or brambles that could cause them pain or infection.
But opponents say it causes the dog unnecessary pain and suffering, and when performed incorrectly, the procedure can lead to lifelong problems.
“Cutting the tail due to the owner’s own whims is cruelty,” said Zaida Cantera from the social-democratic PSOE party during the congressional debate in March.
Guillermo Díaz of Ciudadanos said that whoever would “torture or harm” an animal “in an unnecessary way is in many ways a danger to society.”
“How many sociopaths have started by torturing animals?”
The PP had objected to the law, saying the practice should be allowed for hunters while dogs are still puppies.
The new law will still allow veterinarians to decide whether there is a medical reason for docking.
Before the new national legislation, a number of local authorities had already banned docking, including Madrid and Andalusia. But hunters would sometimes then cross over to other regions where the operation was not illegal.