Animal buyers in France will need a certificate

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Pet buyers in France will now be required to sign a “certificate of understanding” to ensure they are aware of the responsibilities of pet owners, after the National Assembly passed a new bill on animal abuse.

Owners will need to read and sign the certificate before they can purchase the animal and bring it home.

The proposal was voted on by the National Assembly yesterday.

This is one of the major measures suggested as part of a new bill against animal abuse, proposed by LREM deputies Loïc Dombreval and Laëtitia Romeiro Dias.

Read more: French law on animal welfare debated in parliament

The exact content of the certificate – called “knowledge certificate” – will be decided by government decree. It is likely to indicate the owners’ responsibilities for the care of the animal, its food and exercise needs, and the potential costs of food and veterinary care.

It will also be adapted to the “specific needs of the species”.

Anyone who purchases a pet for the first time will need to sign it, and anyone who sells a pet will also need to ensure that future owners have signed. People purchasing a pet who already have a similar pet in the home – for example, someone who purchases a second pet dog – will not need to re-sign.

Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said the certificate would aim to make future owners aware of what it really means to buy an animal and to avoid “impulse buying”.

Yet MPs did not vote on another proposal – the idea of ​​requiring prospective owners to take a course in pet care, or to obtain a “license” to have their pet in. the House.

Suddenly, the deputy Julien Aubert warned: “Be careful that this ‘certificate’ does not become a symbolic paper, or just one more paper.

Currently, pet sellers have responsibilities, in that they must obtain a veterinary certificate and an attestation of transfer, but there is currently no certificate that assures the ability of the future owner to take care of the pet. animal.

The bill also included proposals to stop online advertising and the sale of pets through non-specialist websites, but this was not passed.

More education needed

Animal welfare activists have called for even more measures to protect pets.

Muriel Arnal, president of the One Voice animal protection association, said a news source 20 minutes: “When people abandon an animal, it is because they have financial problems or they took the animal reluctantly.

“We need to improve education and recommend that people leave their pets in a shelter if they feel overwhelmed, rather than abandoning them in the countryside.

“We need to tackle the causes of the problem rather than the consequences. Once we see the consequences, it is too late. When someone abandons an animal, they rarely do so with joy. This indicates that they made a mistake and now realize how much work it takes.

“But the real question is, how do you make this awareness happen before or at the time of purchase, not at the time of abandonment?”

Ms Arnal said the cost of keeping an animal is not just financial and even wealthy households need to be aware of the time, space, constraints and other responsibilities of caring for an animal. ‘a pet.

She said: “In France, we still believe in the myth of a kitten offered as a Christmas present, without thinking that it will then have to be taken care of for the next 13 years. There is a real lack of education and a lack of understanding of the responsibility that an animal represents.

Owning a pet in France

Pet ownership is popular in France – collectively, the public owns nine million pet dogs, 15 million cats, and one million horses and donkeys.

Yet France also has the dubious honor of being the European country with the highest pet abandonment rate. More than 200,000 domestic animals – including 100,000 cats and dogs – are abandoned each year.

In 2019, the animal welfare charity 30 Million Friends Foundation launched a ‘shock campaign’, which used Queen’s song We Are The Champions to draw attention to the high level of abandonment of animals in France.

Read more: France record for abandoned animals, shows shock campaign

But Ms Arnal said: “Instead of doing ads about abandonment, which don’t have much effect, we should be doing ads about the responsibility of owning an animal. The financial cost, the number of hours per week to take care of it …

“We should also ban internet sales and stop treating animals like objects. When you buy a pet like a pair of shoes, you increase the chances of misunderstanding. On the other hand, when you buy from a shelter or a [good] breeder, you have a long discussion before purchasing.

“You meet the animal first, you talk about it, and that increases your perspective.”

Bullfighting is not showing

Despite the new rules for pets, the animal abuse bill has been criticized for failing to refer to other key priorities of animal welfare activists, including a ban on bullfighting.

Éric Pauget, deputy for Alpes-Maritimes, said to The HuffPost that he was “shocked” and “did not understand this absence” in the bill, which included references to other major issues such as the use of wild animals in circuses and intensive agriculture.

Mr Pauget declared: “At no time did the text mention bullfighting. “

And this despite a recent Ifop poll according to which 75% of French people would be in favor of a ban.

This represents a 25% increase since 2007, and a higher percentage than the number of supporters of the ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

Currently, the law prohibits acts of cruelty to animals “except bullfights where an unbroken local tradition can be proven”. As a result, bullfighting still takes place in around fifty towns in France.

Mr Pauget said: “It shows that the government and most people do not even want to discuss the subject, even though we are talking about a practice of torturing animals in an arena. I do not understand this political calculation, because the polls show a real awareness of the public.

The MP also said that even Catalonia in Spain – the sport’s home country – had banned bullfighting since 2010.

The subject is still controversial in France, the Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti being a fervent supporter of this practice – often considered as culturally important and “noble”, despite his detractors.

In 2019, Mr. Dupond-Moretti wrote an open letter – signed by a number of prominent personalities – entitled: “Bullfighting is an art, and no one should be without it”.

However, those responsible for presenting the text to parliament sought to explain why the bill did not contain references to controversial sport, saying its inclusion could have threatened the entire bill.

Aurore Bergé, Member of Parliament for Yvelines and President of LREM, declared FranceInfo: “We need a consensus to make a bill.”

Loïc Dombreval, co-presenter of the bill, confided Opinion: “Unfortunately, the subject of animals is becoming very passionate and irrational.

“If we add hunting, bullfighting and herding to the discussions, we won’t agree, we would just yell at each other, and in the end nothing would change. The bill is limited, yes. But a good law is a law that is passed.

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