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Parliament to debate dog racing ban for Portugal

parliamentPortugalOn July 2nd, Parliament is scheduled to debate a ban on greyhound racing in Portugal.

Two bills have been submitted, by the Left Bloc and the People Animals Nature party, to have dog racing banned and to legislate for fines and prison sentences for those who break the law, if it is passed.

PAN wants to ban dog racing, “across the country, regardless of the type of dog, ” and to provide sanctions for anyone, “promoting, publicising, selling tickets, providing facilities, material or any other activity aimed at its realisation.”

Anyone who promotes racing, may be, “punished with imprisonment for up to two years or with a fine” and anyone who “participates, in any way, with dog races shall be punished with imprisonment for up to one year or with a fine,” reads the text, adding that any attempt to carry out such an event also should be punishable.

André Silva, PAN’s lone MP, points out that “the dignity of animals, in particular their right to life and physical, psychological and mental integrity, is an indisputable fact and has been recognised across society” and that this recognition, implies the creation of a legal framework that includes a ban on racing.

In spite of the recent recognition of a new status for animals in general, and of protection for dogs in particular, activities such as greyhound racing continue, leading to exploitation, heavy training regimes, abandonment and appalling living conditions for the animals.

PAN explains that these events usually have a live bait, such as using hares and that dogs often get doped with “substances such as ephedrine, arsenic, strychnine and sometimes cocaine,” which can lead to the death of the dogs.

The party also notes that dog races are still practiced “in 28 countries around the world,” with professional tracks and amateur tracks, as in the case of Portugal, and that the world trend is “to ban this type of activity.”

The Left Bloc states that greyhound races exist in many countries, involves betting and brutal training and in many cases greyhound racing runs without any license and without the minimum support structures for the dogs.

The Left Bloc wants to prohibit greyhound racing and the racing of other dog breeds and agrees with PAN on the main poiints of the submission to Parliament.

On July 2nd, a petition that already has more than 4,500 signatures, also will be considered. It asks Parliament to “create legislation to ban greyhound races in Portugal.”