Portugal Has Never Had This Many Abandoned Animals

Written By Manuel Poças

More than 45,000 stray animals were removed from the streets in 2023 in Portugal.

According to the official data revealed by the last report published by the Institute for Natural Conservation and Forests, last year, 45,148 stray animals were removed from the streets. However, the Institute warns that the real number of stray animals is much higher, being close to a million.

Note that, out of all the Portuguese municipalities, 15 did not reply to the Institute’s inquiry, and 43 did not provide any data. Independently, the official numbers are what counts.

During the last 5 years, the number of stray animals removed from the streets was as follows:

2019 – 31,966

2020 – 31,339

2021 – 43,603

2022 – 41,994

2023 – 45,148

There have never been so many stray animals rescued as last year. According to the Institute, this is not a recent issue. However, the post-pandemic period has been rough in this sense. Many people adopted animals during the pandemic, not because they really wanted them, but because they could use the company and/or the excuse to go out. As restrictions were lifted and time passed, many animals became more of a burden instead of an actual part of the family that was appreciated and loved unconditionally.

The ongoing crisis and the continuous degradation of the general quality of life for most people has also had a negative impact. Today, having an animal as part of the family is often more expensive than having a person.

However, not all results are negative. The same report shows that, even though there are many more animals on the streets, there are also many more animals being adopted. During the last five years, the numbers were as follows:

2019 – 18,187

2020 – 20,664

2021 – 25,474

2022 – 24,721

2023 – 30,424

The Institute believes that the progressive social awareness related to the number of stray animals and the possibility of adopting instead of buying has impacted these numbers positively. The hard work of municipalities and animal organizations over the years seems to be producing results. However, more effort is required, especially regarding the improvement of the operational capacity of the associations and public kennels.

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