France to ban sales of dogs and cats at pet shops

France will ban pet shops from selling dogs and cats from 2024 as part of efforts to prevent abandonment.

Under a new animal welfare law approved by the Senate on Thursday, licensed breeders and shelters will be among the few options for would-be owners.

Owners will also be required to sign a commitment certificate confirming their knowledge of the needs of the animals. Purchases can be cancelled within seven days.

The provisions are designed to prevent impulsive buying, which is a factor behind abandonment.

A pet food industry association says nearly 22 million dogs and cats are kept as pets in France. But according to animal welfare groups, 100,000 are abandoned every year.

A lawmaker who cosponsored the bill welcomed its adoption as a historic first step.

The law also bans dolphin and orca shows from 2026, and the use of wild animals in traveling circuses from 2028.

A representative of a circus association vowed to stage a protest, saying that no show animals are abused and the law is arbitrary.