In a feel-good moment in parliament today, MPs of all parties have approved a proposed new law that outlaws the mass culling of cats and dogs in municipal kennels.
From 2018, the only killing envisaged will be for cases where animals are considered to be “in suffering”, writes Sábado – adding much later in its text that “motives relating to behaviour” will also be considered valid.
The new law – which has to be rubber-stamped by President Marcelo – was proposed by the PCP communist party following a “legislative initiative” promoted by citizens groups.
André Silva, the only MP representing Portugal’s People Animals Nature Party (PAN) has described himself as “feeling thankful”.
Writing on social media, he said: “This is an historic evolutionary step for our society . I thank everyone who has struggled for this day for decades”.
Silva stood up and applauded as MPs voted unanimously, but there are still a few clouds on the horizon.
The country’s veterinary association – as well as borough councils – are concerned as to how the law can actually ‘work’.
Sábado explains this is why the timeframe 2018 has been introduced: to give authorities space to prepare for the fact that numbers in municipal kennels will not have the same ‘control’ as they do now.
The philosophy, says the paper, will be towards the sterilisation of abandoned animals, and their release to associations and charities for adoption.
But while some councils say they doubt they will be ready for this even in two years time, the Order of Medical Veterinarians has said they do not relish the ban on culls, even though they agree with it.
The problem, Jorge Norte, vice president of the order’s directive council, has told Jornal de Notícias is that it could lead to animals stacking up “in very bad conditions”.
The order initially considered the proposed new law “impractical”, Sábado adds – but changes made (specifically to the timeframe), have dulled this reservation.
Nonetheless, concerns are still with “the proliferation of infectious diseases” and the fact that in an imperfect world “we have to have a notion of reality”.