The prohibition of possession and breeding by individuals of certain animal species is not something new in Spain or anything that the current Government has invented. Since 2013, many of them are included in the Spanish Catalog of Invasive Alien Species, which categorically prohibits keeping raccoons, Argentine parrots, lovebirds, Vietnamese pigs, peninsular tortoises, hedgehogs or coatis at home, among other animals. However, the new Animal Welfare Law significantly expands the list of pets forbidden at home and restricts those allowed.
The new standard establishes a series of requirements for an animal to be considered domestic. To do this, it must appear on the list of permitted species, which will be approved after the approval of the law. In general, these requirements consist of the fact that the species is easy to care for in terms of its ecological, physiological and ethological needs, that it is scientifically proven that it can live in captivity, that it does not pose a risk to people due to its aggressiveness, venom or size, and that there is no risk that, if it escapes, it could become an invasive species, colonizing habitats and causing environmental damage.
Based on these criteria, the Animal Welfare Law entails the prohibition of having at home:
-Mice-Hamsters-guinea pigs-Chinchillas-Rabbits-turtles-parakeets-Parrots-Lovebirds-Snakes-spiders-Iguanas-Chameleons-Geckos-Birds native to other countries
Objective: avoid invasive species
In the case of the rodents mentioned in the previous list, the reason for their prohibition is to preserve the wild and native fauna of the natural environment: “They will not be included in the positive list of companion animals species for which there is certainty of their invasive nature or that, in case of escape and lack of control, pose or may pose a serious risk to the conservation of biodiversity”, the law states.
This is the same reason why the rabbit, which, with more than one and a half million specimens in Spain in 2020 and serious environmental damageturns out to be a pet with some acceptance among many people.
Even the turtlesso popular in many homes, will also be prohibited and this is because, according to the Ministry for Ecological Transition, they are animals that contain a significant amount of pathogenic vectors, such as parasitic fungi, and, therefore, transmitters of diseases.
The prohibition of parakeets It has its raison d’être, according to the Ministry of Social Rights, in the exclusion of “wild species of fauna not naturally present in Spain”, the same case of parrots, lovebirds and other non-native birds of the country.
The legal text does not yet establish a list of allowed animals, which must be approved by the Government within a maximum period of 48 months from the entry into force of the law.
Disparity of criteria in Europe
There does not seem to be unanimity in the EU countries regarding what should be understood by a companion animal or not. For example in Belgium, where an Animal Welfare Law has also just been approved, it is allowed to keep rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, deer, guinea pigs or squirrels.
In Hollandwhich has a similar law since 2015, the list of allowed species is reduced to 30, including various types of rodents, as well as rabbits and ferrets, as well as wild boars, alpacas or buffaloes.
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