France Considers Stronger Animal Protection Laws

The first article in this year's project is a basic introduction, published by France Bleu, outlining the bill before the French parliament which is seeking to strengthen animal protection laws.

Article source: "Maltraitance animale : que contient la proposition de loi débattue ce mardi à l'Assemblée nationale ?", by Diane Sprimont, France Bleu, 26/01/2021.

A bill proposed by the French parliamentary majority to combat animal cruelty will be considered by the country’s National Assembly this week. Dogs, cats, dolphins and even mink will be at the heart of the debate.

Stricter Rules for Pet Ownership

Half of the French population are pet owners. But does everyone know how to look after a pet properly? The bill aims to establish “a certificate of knowledge of a species’ specific needs” in order to reduce the risks of mistreatment. This certificate aimed at future pet owners will remind them of the duty of care, the mandatory vaccinations and the costs that come with owning an animal.

The bill provides for stronger sentencing in the event of an animal’s death, with a maximum of three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros. Pet abandonment that puts the animal’s life at risk will be considered an aggravated offence, carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros.

Wild Animals in Entertainment

The presence of wild animals in travelling circuses is to be phased out. This measure should come into effect in five years, the schedule varying between species.

A ban on keeping cetaceans in dolphinariums also appears in the bill. The Parc Astérix theme park announced on Monday that it would shut down its dolphinarium, which housed eight dolphins.

Appearances by wild animals in television studios, the future of bear and wolf tamers and the closure of mink farms will also be discussed.

Lukewarm Reception

These new measures have been broadly praised by animal welfare organisations, including the Ligue pour la protection des oiseaux (League for the Protection of Birds). Still, the association is hoping for amendments abolishing “cruel hunting methods” (e.g. the use of birdlime).

Jacques Charles Fombonnes, president of the SPA (France’s principal animal welfare organisation), said it was regrettable that a ban on the online sale of animals was nowhere to be seen. Other matters that are not addressed in the text include intensive farming, hunting and bull-fighting.

The 30 millions d’Amis animal rights foundation also pointed out that the French public have higher expectations. According to a poll conducted on behalf of the organisation by French polling firm IFOP, 77% of French people support a ban on hunting with hounds and 89% are in favour of banning animal testing when alternatives already exist.


Translated by Grégoire Haguet.

Editing by Sam Trainor.

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