Spain makes landmark ruling against pet shop for animal abuse

In a landmark ruling for Spain, the owners of a pet store have been found guilty of animal abuse and forced to shut down.

Spain makes landmark ruling against pet shop for animal abuse
Photo: vilevi/Depositphotos

A court in Barcelona found the owners of pet store chain Mundocachorro guilty or animal abise after inspectors found 135 young dogs and cats kept in “deplorable conditions”.

The abuse dates back to 2015 when reports were made to the animal rights group Faada from people who had purchased animals from the shop which died within days.

Following the denuncias, officers from Barcelona’sGuardia Urbana unit had visited the premises and discovered “135 puppies and kittens kept in deplorable conditions”.

They also discovered 38 puppies kept in isolation and the corpses of 31 animals which had died and were kept in the freezer awaiting incineration.

Prosecutors argued that the accused were “well aware that the animals were provided with adequate medical treatment to prevent diseases that resulted in the death of dozens of young animals”.

Laia Bonnet, councillor in charge of animal rights on Barcelona City Council welcomed the legal first.

“Today is an important day in the struggle for animal rights,” she said in a message posted on Twitter.  “The courts have issued for the first time in Spain a sentence of imprisonment and disqualification against a store for the sale of animals for continued mistreatment resulting in death. Barcelona is a city committed to animal welfare!”

Campaigners have long called tighter regulation at pet shops and urge potential pet owners to instead adopt unwanted animals from shelters instead of fuelling the unscrupulous trade in animals by buying from a store.

Last year alone,  more than 138,000 dogs and cats were taken in by shelters across Spain. 

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PETA offers cash to ban Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls forever

With the news last week that the Spanish city of Pamplona in Navarra has been forced to cancel its bull running fiesta for the second year running due to the Covid crisis, animal rights activists have seized on the opportunity to call for it to be banned permanently.

PETA offers cash to ban Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls forever
A shot from the encierro on July 7th 2019. Photo: AFP

PETA are writing to the mayor of Pamplona with the offer of €298,000 if the Navarran city ceases the use of bulls during their fiesta altogether.

“People around the world, including in Spain, say it’s past time the torment and slaughter of animals for human entertainment were stopped,” says PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk in her appeal to Pamplona mayor, Enrique Maya.

“Now is the moment to be on the right side of history. We hope you will accept our offer and allow Pamplona to reinvent itself for the enjoyment of all.”

Each morning during the eight day festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, which bursts into celebration at midday on July 6th, six fighting bulls and six steers are released to run through the narrow streets of the old town to the bullring where the bulls are killed in the evening corridas.

Hundreds run alongside the animals in the morning dash which often results in gorings, and injuries from being stomped on after runners lose their footing in the crowds.

The festival, which was made world famous by Ernest Hemingway, who set his 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises” during San Fermin, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the party each year.

The festival, which sees Pamplona’s population swell from just under 200,000 to more than a million, is estimated to bring an annual boost of €74 million to Pamplona businesses, according to an association of fighting bull breeders.

PETA’s offer is the latest in a long campaign to ban what it calls “Pamplona’s annual bloodbath”.

Together with Spanish groupAnimaNaturalis, the activists stage peaceful protests ahead of the start of the festival year.

The city’s former mayor, Joseba Asirón, supported the protests, describing them as “fair and honest”.

Speaking to reporters about the groups’ calls to remove bull runs from the festival, he said, “[T]his is a debate that sooner or later we will have to put on the table. For a very simple reason, and that is that basing the festival on the suffering of a living being, in the 21st century, is something that, at best, we have to rethink.”

Since the pandemic began festivals across Spain have been cancelled but corridas were allowed last summer with limited occupancy and with social distancing and Covid-19 measures in place.

But although Spain’s bullfighting lobby is strong, there is a general trend away from it.

In a poll published in 2019 by online newspaper El Español, over 56 percent of Spaniards said they were against bullfighting, while only 24.7 were in favour. Some 18.9 percent said they were indifferent.

Support was significantly higher among conservative voters, it showed.