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Quick Summary of Animal Law in France and Spain
Loïs Laimene Lelanchon (2013)

In terms of animal protection, France has paved the way for Spain to adopt a solid legislation.

French and Spain legislations are based on the Roman law tradition and encounter difficulties to detach themselves from the concept of animal-machine.

The penal protection was at first initiated in both countries on the ground of the protection of public morality.

Later on, the criminal provisions relating to intentional cruelty towards animals have been shaped around the notion of maltreatment. Society ended up acknowledging the right for animals to not be maltreated; brought to light by Enlightenment author Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1755.
 
Along the way, France and Spain increased the scope of animals protected, going from exclusively domestic animals to certain types of wild animals. The scope of human deeds has been also extended, introducing with each reform new concepts.

Case law kept on bringing new challenges regarding the interpretation of often-vague general provisions. Those challenges forced the legislature to introduce more precise terms.

At the same time, obvious cruel practices, related to tradition, have benefited from derogations to the criminal provisions, weakening the legal value and coherence of anti-maltreatment laws.

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French and Spanish Animal Laws

France:

1. Law of July 2,1850 relating to maltreatments on domestic animals Loi du 2 juillet 1850 relative aux mauvais traitements exercés envers les animaux domestiques.

Also known as the “Grammont Law”, this text was the first to incriminate public maltreatments on domestic animals in France.

2. Law no. 51-461 of April 24, 1951 supplemeting the Law of July 2, 1859 relating to maltreatments on domestic animals Loi n° 51-461 du 24 avril 1951 complétant la loi du 2 juillet 1850 relative aux mauvais traitements exercés envers les animaux domestiques

The present law adds a derogation to the “Grammont Law”, which has for consequence to legalize bullfighting.

3. Decree no. 59-1051 of the 7 September 1959 relating to maltreatments on animals Décret n° 59-1051 du 7 septembre 1959 réprimant les mauvais traitements exercés envers les animaux

By extending the scope of animals protected, to tame and captive animals and by removing the condition of publicity; the Decree no. 59-1051 is seen as the first effective law protecting animals.

4. Law no. 63-1143 of November 19, 1963 relating to the protection of animals Loi n° 63-1143 du 19 novembre 1963 relative à la protection des animaux

By the substituting the term “maltreatment” for “act of cruelty”, the Law no. 63-1143 operates a major change in the animal cruelty provisions and restricts the legal value of the text.

5. Law no. 64-690 of July 8, 1964 supplementing the Law no. 63-1143 of November 19, 1963 relating to animals’ protection Loi n° 64-690 du 8 juillet 1964 modifiant la loi n° 63-1143 du 19 novembre 1963 relative à la protection des animaux

After having granted a derogation for the bullfighting activity, the Law no. 64-690 naturally lays down the same exception for cockfights.

6. Law no. 76-629 of July 10, 1976 relating to nature’s protection Loi n° 76-629 du 10 juillet 1976 relative à la protection de la nature

The Law no. 76-629 acknowledges animals are sensitive beings. However, this principle seems to only apply to farm animals. The text also introduces the term “serious maltreatments” to preexisting animal cruelty provisions.

7. Law no. 99-5 of January 6, 1999 relating to dangerous and stray animals, and to the protection of animals Loi n° 99-5 du 6 janvier 1999 relative aux animaux dangereux et errants et à la protection des animaux

The Law no. 99-5 modifies the redaction of the animal cruelty related provisions, notably by removing necessity as an exoneration cause.

8. Law no. 2004-204 of March 9, 2004 adapting the justice system to developments in crime Loi n° 2004-204 du 9 mars 2004 portant adaptation de la justice aux évolutions de la criminalité

The Law no. 2004-204 introduces bestiality in the animal cruelty provisions.

9. Ministerial Order of August 11, 2006 listing domestic species, breeds, or varieties. Arrêté du 11 août 2006 fixant la liste des espèces, races ou variétés d'animaux domestiques

The Ministerial Order gives a binding definition of domestic species, breeds or varieties and lays down a list of animals belonging to such categories.

Spain:

1. Law 10/1990, of August 27, on the protection and defense of companion animals (Murcia) Ley 10/1990, de 27 de agosto, de protección y defensa de los animales de compañía (Murcía)

The present law has for object to establish rules for the protection of companion animals in the Autonomous Community of Murcia.

2. Law 8/1991 of April 30, on the protection of animals (Canary Islands) Ley 8/1991, de 30 de abril, de protección de los animales (Islas Canarias)

The present law has for object to establish rules for the protection of domestic animals, and especially companion animals in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands.

3. Law 11/2003, of November 24, on the protection of animals (Andalusia) Ley 11/2003, de 24 de noviembre, de protección de los animales (Andalucía)

The present law has for object to establish rules relative to the protection and welfare of animals that live under the ownership of humans in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia.

4. Organic Law 15/2003 by which is modified the Organic Law 10/1995, of November 23, of the Criminal Code Ley Orgánica 15/2003, de 25 de noviembre, por la que se modifica la Ley Orgánica 10/1995, de 23 de noviembre, del Código Penal

The present Organic Law has for object to modify the Criminal Code. Modifications relative to animal related provisions have been included.

5. Organic Law 5/2010 of June 22, by which is modified the Organic Law 10/1995, of November 23, of the Criminal Code Ley Orgánica 5/2010, de 22 de junio, por la que se modifica la Ley Orgánica 10/1995, de 23 de noviembre, del Código Penal

The present Organic Law has for object to modify the Criminal Code. Modifications relative to animal related provisions have been included.

6. Law 28/2010, of August 3, modifying article 6 of the remolten text of Law on the protection of animals, approved by the legislative Decree 2/2008
Ley 28/2010, de 3 de agosto, de modificación del artículo 6 del texto refundido de la Ley de protección de los animales, aprobado por el Decreto legislativo 2/2008

The present law has for object to supplement the preexisting provisions relative to the protection of animals in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia. A notable addition is the prohibition of bullfights.


7. Bill of Organic Law by which is modified the Organic Law 10/1995, of November 23, of the Criminal Code Anteproyecto de Ley Orgánica por la que se modifica la Ley Orgánica 10/1995, de 23 de noviembre, del Código Penal

The Bill of the planned Organic Law would modify the Criminal Code by bringing more coherence notably in the animal related provisions.

 

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