The minister of Environment and Climate Action, João Matos Fernandes said: “Seven million euros will be allocated to the construction and improvement of official collection centres and accommodation for associations”, adding that approximately €2.4 million are foreseen for veterinary services for animals living with families in need, and around €1.2 million will be used for actions to raise awareness and sterilise pets through municipalities and associations.

In addition to these investments, €100,000 has also been earmarked for an electronic registration campaign for pets, said the minister.

According to the minister of the Environment, the notices dedicated to official collection centres, support for associations and also for veterinary hospitals, will be published next Friday “and, this year, unlike previous ones, joint applications will also be accepted”.

In this context, applications for animal welfare programmes and exceptional measures to combat the effects of the pandemic will also be admitted, as well as, “for the first time, applications for the creation of facilities aimed at improving the welfare of housed animals will be admitted in official collection centres or facilities of associations”.

Highlighting the need to protect animals against acts of cruelty, abandonment and mistreatment, the government official said that “at national level, legislation on animal welfare has gained importance”, considering that “this happened, above all, through the application of the European Convention for the Protection of Companion Animals and the transposition of European Union directives”.

“But national responses are needed to meet the current demands of Portuguese society. We are not indifferent to sad incidents that prompt our action. And we cannot allow them to be repeated”, declared João Matos Fernandes.

The Companion Animal Identification System currently has “about 2.75 million records”, which means that “more than half of Portuguese families have animals, which are often the only source of companionship and affection particularly for the elderly and people in a situation of social exclusion”, said the minister.

“It is in this context, of growth in the universe of companion animals and insufficient responses, that a new framework for action is instituted. Why? To underpin the qualitative improvement of public policy on animal welfare, more effective and in line with the best international practices and based on bodies duly trained for this purpose”, explained the government official.

According to the head of the Environment portfolio, the paradigm shift is based on five fundamental pillars, namely identification, sterilisation, adoption, education and participation, which are enshrined in the recently approved diplomas on the well-being of pets.