Austria Tightens Pet Breeding Rules

Austria Tightens Pet Breeding Rules

Photo: Green Party MP Faika El-Nagashi speaks in parliament, Parlamentsdirektion/Anna Rauchenberger

The Austrian parliament on Thursday approved sweeping amendments to the country’s Animal Welfare Act, including tougher measures against breeding practices that cause harm to pets.

The amendments also introduce stricter regulations on dog training and impose harsher penalties for acts of animal cruelty, particularly those involving birds and reptiles.

Starting from July 1, 2026, prospective owners of dogs and exotic animals such as amphibians, reptiles and parrots will be required to obtain a mandatory competency certificate. The certificate requires completion of a comprehensive four-unit instructional course, a long-standing demand of animal welfare advocates.

Dog owners will need to complete an additional two-hour practical session as part of the certification process.

Commenting on the reforms, Green Party MP Faika El-Nagashi described them as some of the most comprehensive in Europe. She highlighted that the new laws – a response to the Animal Welfare People’s Initiative backed by 400,000 supporters – signify a significant shift in tackling cruel breeding practices.

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