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Portugal – Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

Portugal, a country with a rich history and diverse culture, has a deep appreciation for animals and pets. In this article, we will explore the prevailing attitude towards animals and pets in Portugal, the laws surrounding pet ownership, major animal charities in the country, commonly available pet supply stores, and cultural taboos or sensitivities associated with different types of animals.

Prevailing Attitude to Animals and Pets

The people of Portugal have a strong love for animals, and they are well-regarded in the country. Portugal has a long history of traditional animal husbandry practices, which are still seen in rural areas. However, the country has also modernized its approach to animal welfare in recent years, and there is now a growing trend towards animal rescue and adoption.

Many Portuguese people keep pets, and there are a variety of different animals kept as pets in the country. Dogs and cats are the most popular pets, followed by birds, fish, and small mammals such as hamsters and rabbits. In addition to household pets, horses and cattle are also commonly kept in rural areas for work or breeding.

Laws Regarding Pet Ownership

In Portugal, there are several laws regarding pet ownership. The most important of these is the Animal Protection Law, which sets out the requirements for the care and protection of animals. This law states that all animals must have access to food, water, and shelter, and that they must not be subjected to abuse or neglect. There are also regulations governing the transportation of animals, as well as rules on the sale and breeding of pets.

In addition to these laws, there are also specific regulations relating to certain types of animals. For example, dogs in Portugal are required to be microchipped and registered with the local authorities. They must also be kept on a leash when in public spaces, and their owners are responsible for cleaning up after them. There are also restrictions on certain breeds of dog, such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, which are considered potentially dangerous and must be registered with the authorities.

Major Animal Charities

There are several major animal charities operating in Portugal, which work to improve the welfare of animals in the country. One of the most well-known is the Portuguese Society for the Protection of Animals (Sociedade Protectora dos Animais), which was founded in 1875 and is one of the oldest animal welfare organizations in the world. The society operates shelters for dogs and cats, and also provides education and outreach programs to promote animal welfare.


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Another important organization is the Animal Welfare League (Liga Portuguesa dos Direitos do Animal), which was founded in 1981 and is focused on promoting animal welfare and rights in Portugal. The league operates several animal shelters and also provides veterinary care and education programs.

Pet Supply Stores

There are several pet supply stores operating in Portugal, both physical and online. Some of the most popular physical stores include Pet City, Zoomania, and Jumbo Pet. These stores offer a wide range of products for pets, including food, toys, accessories, and grooming supplies.

Online stores are also popular in Portugal, with some of the most popular including Zooplus, Tiendanimal, and Miscota. These stores offer a wide range of products for pets, and many offer free delivery to customers across the country.

Cultural Taboos or Sensitivities

In Portugal, there are no specific cultural taboos or sensitivities associated with different types of animals. However, like many other countries, there are cultural attitudes towards certain types of pets. For example, dogs are generally more popular than cats in Portugal, and many Portuguese families have at least one dog as a pet.

In addition, there is a long-standing tradition of bullfighting in Portugal, which has been a controversial topic in recent years. While some view it as a cultural tradition, others see it as animal cruelty and are actively working to ban the practice.

Overall, while there are no specific cultural taboos or sensitivities associated with different types of animals in Portugal, there are cultural attitudes towards certain types of pets and activities involving animals. It’s important for visitors to be respectful of these attitudes and to be mindful of animal welfare issues while traveling in Portugal.


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