A new law has been passed for the protection of animals in Italy. In future anyone killing, abandoning, ill-treating, using in cruel competitions or betting on a domestic animal will be committing a criminal offence, punishable by prison in some cases. Anyone caught abandoning an animal in Italy can now be arrested and may face up to one years imprisonment and a fine of up to 10,000.

The new law, which passed through the senate on 8 July with the support of almost all political parties, has caused some controversy since it makes exceptions for shooting and fishing, for animals bred for meat production, and used in scientific experiments (although the law has tightened up regulations for these animals), for circus animal and zoos. The use of animals in some traditional events, such as the horse races which take place in towns all over Italy in the summer, will require special authorisation from the regional authorities.