No More ‘Dangerous Dog Breeds’ List

Animal protection law overhaul will end canine racial discrimination. 

A law dating back 22 years requiring owners of certain dog breeds to register them with the council, pay a tax and keep them muzzled and on a lead could be about to change now that Spain’s government is considering a review of the ‘dangerous’ label. Behaviour, not breed, will be considered for special restraint and training measures under proposed new law. 

Some dogs who have shown aggressive behaviour may be of breeds not on the ‘compulsory registration’ list. Replacing Law number 50/1999, the legislation will cover dogs whose character means they need ‘special handling’ or ‘expert management’ and require them to be trained in behaviour improvement techniques to prevent, or stop, them being ‘dangerous’.

Spain does not automatically require a dog who attacks a human to be put to sleep. This is avoided as far as possible and would only happen where the animal was a serial public danger and too far gone for even canine behavioural experts to retrain them to be safe.

The Royal Canine Society (RSCE) has called for legislation that makes dog identification universal, protects and promotes native breeds, accredits the work of ‘ethical and responsible breeders’ and actively educates children and young people in values that encourage respect and empathy for animals.

The planned SRPA will cover a blanket identification system, with details of domestic animals on one single national database.

A National Register of Professionals will be set up for dog trainers to sign up to and which owners can consult to find a legitimate behavioural expert near them.

A National Pet Breeders’ Register, will include amateurs as well as professionals, but only those named on it will be allowed to breed, other than for purely personal reasons. All pets or other domestic animals bred for purchase will be logged on the identity register within the first three months of their lives and before they are sold.

A separate ‘offenders’ register’ will be created, to block names of people or organisations convicted of ill-treatment or neglect and prevent their being able to own any animals.

Another issue to tackle is an amendment to the Penal Code to provide for much stiffer punishment for animal abuse and neglect. In Spain, unless the offender has a previous custodial conviction, a prison sentence of less than two years does not have to be served, meaning almost nobody ends up behind bars for ill-treatment of animals. 

Regional laws vary regarding pet shelters.

In some, every single town is required to have one and in others, such as Catalunya, these must be adequately funded by local authorities so that not one single animal brought to them is ever turned away. Some regions ban shelters from putting animals to sleep unless they are actively and incurably suffering with no available remedy. Many local councils across the country have systems in place to guarantee the health and wellbeing of their feral cat colonies, including trap-neuter-return programmes to prevent uncontrolled breeding, accredited volunteer feeders and funding for food, worming medication and vaccinations. Harming feral cats in any way is a criminal offence as they are classed as domestic pets.

Foreigner Numbers Rise

Foreign residents in Spain increased by 2% last year, despite the pandemic and Brexit and broke the 5.8-million barrier. Non-Spaniards account for just over 12% of whom about six in 10 are from EU and EEA countries.

UK citizens have lost their freedom of movement throughout other EU member States, where they would be treated as third-country nationals, but retain their EU ‘green certificate’ of registration if they do not wish to swap it for a foreigners’ photo ID card and are not subject to non-EU immigration rules if they are already officially resident in the member country.

Brits were the migrant community which saw the second-largest growth in Spain, at 6%, although a long way short of the Venezuelans, a segment of the population which swelled in size by 53% in 2020.

Whilst growth in migration into Spain has been rising consistently since 2014, the pandemic broke the trend, but even then, 137,120 non-Spaniards made the country their home in 2020. Of the complete total of 5,800,468 foreigners officially resident in Spain, only 39% are from non-EFTA nations. Two-thirds of foreigners live in just four of Spain’s 19 self-governing regions – Catalunya, Madrid, Andalucía and the Comunidad Valenciana.

The average age of a British national living in Spain is 54; the average age of a German national is 49, whilst, on the flip side, the average age of a Moroccan or Pakistani national residing in Spain is 33.

Spain’s Plans For Spending EU COVID Recovery Funds 

The government believes will create up to 800,000 jobs and increase the country’s GDP by 2% at least over the next two years. The draft spending breakdown is the result of months of technical and political work at multiple levels and in permanent dialogue with the European Commission.

“We want to repair the economy after a decade of the worst economic recession and the worst pandemic in over a century,” said PM Sánchez. “We want to increase productivity and good-quality employment, closing the gender and social pay gaps and boosting the green economy.”

The largest slice of the pot will go into promoting electric car buying and sustainable mobility, with €13.2 billion to be set aside and €6.82bn, will go towards renovating residential homes and urban regeneration. They also want to modernise administration and bureaucracy, reducing the temporary job culture in the public sector in favour of permanent positions.

The development of new industrial and waste-disposal policies, a nationwide ‘digital competence plan, reviving and boosting the tourism industry and making it more competitive, promoting science and innovation and the renewable energy roll-out will be made between now and the end of the year 2023.

World’s Most Admired Wine Brand is Spanish

A variety from Spain is officially the World’s Most Admired Wine Brand, according to the annual survey of the same name carried out by and among the most prestigious professionals in the world.

Oenologists, sommeliers, international traders, wine critics and writers are among the panel which compiles the ranking each year, with every one of them choosing and giving points to six different types based upon quality, authenticity and brand image. Often Spain is near the top, but as its wines suffer from being sorely underrated and barely understood by the general public, typically lose the number one slot to brands from France, Italy, Australia and South Africa. Three Spanish wines are in the top 10 and eight are in the top 50.

The ‘pandemic year’ has been hard on wine producers due to long months of restrictions on bars and restaurants. The glut of wine and low demand means prices are likely to fall over the coming year, but if the pandemic remains under control and trade returns to normal, it is hoped wine producers will see a reversal in the 2020 trend.

Which are the best-loved Spanish wine brands?

A firm with a strong market presence is the Catalunya-based Família Torres topping the rankings again this year. The iconic Vega Sicilia is the third-most admired brand. A household name in the northern region of La Rioja and well-known on a national scale, CVNE comes eighth.