Legal Aspects About Drag Animals

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Legal aspects about drag animals

After fainting of exhaustion in a shooting and drag test, a horse has become news in the main online portals and Spanish newspapers. The sad scene comes to relive a necessary discussion about the scope and limitations of the protection of drag animals in Spain.

In times of global advance of the animalist movement, in what state are the animals that have been traditionally used for hard physical tasks, such as horses and oxen in productive fields?

In practice, the current concept of animal abuse, the actions and initiatives carried out in Spain are not yet effective in guaranteeing the well -being of these species.

Next, we will make a brief review of Spanish legislation on protection and combat of animal abuse. Our goal is to understand how much we have advanced in the guarantee of animal welfare and what are the future challenges when we talk about drag animals.

Spanish law and drag animals

Spain does not have a unique and national scope in animal protection. While animal abuse is treated in the Spanish Criminal Code, there is no framework law that establishes a general orientation on the fight against acts of violence, exploitation and abandonment towards domestic, wild and ‘farm’ animals ’.

With this, each Autonomous Community has the autonomy of passing its ordinances to prevent animal abuse and set sanctions to those who infringe their determinations. In fact, in the Spanish territory it is possible to find very different regulations and sanctions, with fines ranging from 1000 or 2000 euros to 30,000 euros.

Likewise, after the ratification of the European Agreement for the Protection of Companies, the Spanish State has committed to promoting more effective public policies to promote responsible possession and control of street overpopulation; Also for the control of abuse and abandonment of pets.

Animal abuse in the Spanish Criminal Code and its limited scope

The main legal text about animal abuse in Spain is in the Criminal Code, more precisely in articles 334 to 337. On the one hand, article 334.1 Talk about the protection of protected wild species or at risk of extinction, imposing prison penalty from six months to two years to whom:

“(…) Contraving the laws or provisions of a general nature:

  • Cace, fishe, acquires, possesses or destroys protected species of wildlife;
  • Trafique with them, their parts or derivatives of them; either
  • Perform activities that prevent or hinder their reproduction and migration." 


The sanctions for abuse

In turn, the controversial article 337.1 Determine the criminal consequences applicable to animal abuse, regulating the penalty of up to one year in prison, in addition to the possibility of special disqualification, to anyone who:

“(…) By any means or procedure unjustifiably mistreats, causing injuries that seriously undermine his health or subjecting sexual exploitation to:

  • a domestic or tame animal,
  • an animal of those who are usually domesticated,
  • an animal that temporarily or permanently lives under human control, or
  • Any animal that does not live in a wild state."


When reading these articles, it is not difficult to understand the reasons why drag animals, as well as wildlife and ‘farm’ animals, remain in a state of vulnerability. It is enough to take a superficial look at these lines to perceive that their reach is limited to companion animals and the wild species protected by law in Spain.

Even the recent proposal to approve a special legal personality for animals in the Civil Code (which currently continues to treat animals as ‘movable property’), is limited to pets; leaving aside the thousands of species that are taken daily in the productive fields and in the food industry.

In summary…

Although the advances of the last decades in the fight against abuse and animal abandonment are undeniable, we still have the great challenge of extending legal protection towards drag animals; In short, to all species that need to be guaranteed minimum well -being conditions in their daily lives.

To do this, it is clear that it will be necessary to denaturalize the physical and emotional exploitation of some species; It will be necessary.

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