France hit by summer spike in abandoned pets

The summer of 2015 has been particularly bad when it comes to house pets being abandoned by their French owners, with statistics up 22 percent compared to last year.

France hit by summer spike in abandoned pets
Hundreds of dogs have been abandoned in France this summer. Photo: AFP
You've probably never had more choice if you're looking to adopt a dog or a cat in France. 
Animal shelters have been strained all summer as more and more French families have been giving up on their own pets.
The SPA animal welfare organization has released figures for the summer, showing that in July alone, 2,623 animals were left behind by their owners – up 22 percent compared to the same period in 2014.
A spokesperson said that it was mostly cats – with “a massive abandonment” of 1,255 picked up by the 60 shelters across France. 
“There's a real increase in the number of abandoned cats, nearly 400 more than last year,” the spokesperson told the AFP news agency. 
They added that the statistics were hiked due to the fact that so many unsterilized cats were being abandoned, meaning the organization was taking in an influx of kittens too.

(Hundreds of cats have been abandoned in France this summer. Photo: AFP)
The SPA also picked up just under 900 dogs in the same period.
Animal carers are hoping that with the summer coming to an end and the French returning back to their normal lives, the burden will be somewhat lifted from the shelters.
“Usually in June and July adoptions are rare, but they pick up by mid-August when holidaymakers return home,” the SPA said. 
Having reached capacity, however, the SPA launched an emergency appeal for adoptions at the end of July which saw a spike in new pet owners coming forward. 
Indeed, around 4,000 of the shelters' 45,000-strong animal population were adopted during the summer months. 
The animal body noted that the current economic crisis in France was increasingly given as an explanation for why people are parting from their pets.

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France’s Asterix park to shut down dolphin show

A major amusement park in northern France said on Monday it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium, the day before lawmakers start to debate new animal welfare rules.

France's Asterix park to shut down dolphin show
France has long discussed imposing stricter rules on using wild animals in amusement parks. Illustration photo: AFP

The dolphin shows are a popular attraction at Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, but have long been a target of animal rights activists.

“We've been thinking about this for several years,” the park's managing director Nicolas Kremer told Le Parisien newspaper, saying the site wanted to focus instead on rides and other shows.

He said the dolphins would be transferred to other aquariums in Europe in the next two months, adding: “Reintroduction in a natural environment is not possible for these animals raised in captivity.”

A ban on captive breeding of dolphins and other marine mammals as well as their use in shows is a key part of the draft law, with the debate due to begin on Tuesday.

A previous effort to outlaw the practices by decree in 2017 was thrown out by the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, but animal rights group have kept up pressure for the ban.

“These associations think that captivity is abuse, but I can tell you that we have always ensured the wellbeing of our animals,” Kremer said.

The park, based on the beloved Asterix the Gaul comics, is hoping to reopen for the busy summer season on April 3rd if coronavirus restrictions are lifted by then.

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