Vets in opposition to new animal slaughter rules

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dogillPortugal’s vets’ association finally has declared that the new laws that were meant to make life safer and more secure for companion animals has had a variety of adverse effects.

The National Association of Municipal Veterinary Doctors warns that Councils now have a choice to make: cut back on the collection of stray animals or somehow relax the new rules on the slaughter of animals.

The association points out that it is impossible to comply with both laws at the same time.

Ricardo Lobo, a board member of the Vets’ Association (ANVETEM), said that as of the 23rd of October, it will be illegal for its members to kill animals in Council kennels unless the animals are terminally ill or untreatably diseased.

"On the one hand, we have two laws: one that obliges municipalities to collect animals from the street and then we have a law that prevents their slaughter. The municipalities have to realise: it’s impossible to do both at the same time, so one of these legal provisions will have to default. They have to choose which," added Lobo.

"About 60,000 animals a year arrive at official collection centres, almost all are dogs, with an average of 14,000 being adopted each year. Portuguese families have capacity to adopt 60,000 animals in a year, each and every year, because this is a situation that will go on and on," said Lobo.

According to 2017 figures from the General Directorate of Food and Veterinary Affairs, about 10,000 dogs were slaughtered in municipal kennels and 14,000 were adopted – leaving a balance of 10,000 dogs which currently are housed in collection centers.

With rules to stop the slaughter of dogs, "...if the kennels can not resort to the slaughter to create space, the vast majority of them will have to stop collecting animals and will leave animals in the street," warned Lobo.

For the vets, the solution is to "combat the absurd number of stray animals, which won’t happen overnight, because it is a cultural issue: abandonment, which is increasing, remains the root of the problem."

The association does not rule out the possibility of ending the slaughter in kennels, but says that a strategy is needed to change the mentality of the population and to end the dumping of pets, "we have to stop blaming the State for everything, it is not the municipalities that are to be blamed for animals in the streets. We have to understand that this is everyone's problem, a social, cultural problem," concluded Ricardo Lobo.

In the 2016 law that comes in effect on October 23rd, there exist no sanctions for those Councils vets who ignore the law and carry on killing stray cats and dogs


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