In a momentous vote last Thursday Spain's lower house of Parliament gave final approval to a law giving all animals, domesticated or wild, the status of 'sentient being'. It was an effort four years in the making. First introduced in 2017 the bill languished due to the two general elections Spain held in 2019. Finally, with the Socialist (PSOE) party leading, they were able to get the law passed by the Senate in September and the lower house this week. Interestingly only the far right Vox party opposed the bill.
The new law modifies and codifies Spain's Civil Code which covers issues relating to property, family and obligations. Now all parties must not only look at how per example a divorce affects the welfare of the children but also the welfare and interests of any animals. This is a milestone in accepting the special role animals play in our daily lives. Guillermo Díaz, from the center-right Ciudadanos (Citizens Party), defended the law. “We are the only species that recognizes the suffering of others and as such we have an obligation to prevent that suffering,” he said, explaining that up until now, “animals were not considered different from a television” in divorce cases.
We remember an effort by this organization to bring some justice to the rights of animals some years back. We were flatly turned down by US courts as lacking 'standing', meaning in essence that the animals would have to bring the action themselves. The judges knew very well that animals are unable to represent themselves in court and thus shut the door with a nonsensical ruling. Much of European law follows the outlines of the one just passed in Spain.
It seems Europe has far outpaced the United States, in actuality the entire world, in compassion and human kindness. It's 'human' policies thwart wealth for the sake of more wealth while giving as much as possible to the people. They spend 1.5% of GDP on the military and death while we are asked to outlay 5.2%. In 1999 the EU blocked the imports of meat products from the US that were from animals fed antibiotics, again to protect their people. They now have started to look at animals not as mere furniture in the décor of life but as key ingredients in a complex soup of living.
We can't envision a day when a law much like the one just enacted in Spain will pass the US Congress and be signed by the President. Neither party cares much for animals, it seems the GOP does not even care much for humans. How did we end up in this place, devoid of conscience, lacking nobility just empty suits full of money.
Most of Spain’s congressional parties, welcomed the law’s approval. “It’s a moral victory in a country where 200,000 animals are abandoned each year,” said Juantxo López de Uralde, from the Unidas Podemos Party. “Those who are violent against animals are potentially violent against humans as well,” followed Sonia Guaita, from the PSOE stating that similar legislation existed in most European countries. Tellingly the only party opposing the effort was the far right Vox, denigrating it as “insanity, nonsense, stupidity. It humanizes animals and dehumanizes man.”
Now there is a party Donald Trump would be proud of!