“PAN has presented the Assembly of the Republic with a proposal for a bill that aims to ensure the expansion of crimes of abuse and abandonment to all species and not just to pets,” said Inês Sousa Real.

“Since 1995, mistreating a donkey or a horse has been a crime in Spain but in Portugal, these crimes go completely unpunished”, she said.

The PAN leader praised the €700,000 support for animal associations launched on 4 October by the Government, recalling that it was one of the measures proposed by the party for the upcoming budget, but that more support was needed.

“This €700,000 is very little for the work that is done by the associations in our country, but it is a start and we hope that, in the 2022 budget that this amount will clearly be higher”, said Inês Sousa Real, for whom “it is essential that the State starts to pay this debt it owes to animal protection associations”.

"We had a slaughter policy for decades, we did not focus on sterilisation and associations have been doing this work", she explained, adding that the "official collection network is manifestly insufficient for the needs of the country and we have associations that have been overcrowded with abandoned animals”.

The PAN spokeswoman stressed that, in addition to the pet shelters, these funds must be extended to wild animal shelters.

There is “a very weak and very insufficient network regarding the reception of wild animals”, she stressed.

On 4 October, the Government launched direct support of €600,000 intended to aid the expenses of animal associations with medical-veterinary products and services.

Another notice was also issued, amounting of €100,000, aimed at supporting the sterilisation of dogs and cats.

This is the first time that direct support has been given to animal associations, and associations may submit applications until 15 November to gain access to funds.