Flemish Government mandates the sterilization of cats

Flemish Government mandates the sterilization of cats

Achievement
27 December 2017

"A measure we have been urging for a long time, which will save thousands of cats from being abandoned in shelters."

"The decision of the Flemish Government to oblige sterilization and castration of all young cats, as well as cats born after 1 September 2014 (for the latter, sterilization required before 2020), proves its willingness to solve the overpopulation problem of “unwanted” cats in the most humane way possible," says GAIA President Michel Vandenbosch. "GAIA is extremely grateful to the Flemish Government, which has approved the proposal of Ben Weyts, Minister of Animal Welfare. Mandatory sterilization is a necessary measure, which will save the lives of thousands of cats, who otherwise wind up in shelters. Currently, shelters are facing a massive influx of unwanted kittens, and far fewer cats are adopted than are abandoned. Many cats are thus euthanized for lack of space. And many kittens are euthanized to avoid a high risk of contamination, as kittens are highly vulnerable to contagious diseases, which can then spread very quickly."

Turn off the tap

By making sterilization compulsory, we thus attack the root cause of the overpopulation of stray cats, which persists and causes many problems because people do not voluntarily neuter their pets. In short, cats breed like rabbits, and it is high time to turn off the tap. In addition, the Government has also mandated a policy of sterilization in those communes with an overpopulation of stray cats. "This measure heeds the long-running demands from animal shelters and other actors in the field. The sterilization of cats in Flanders has become both a veterinary and a civic obligation, which is excellent news for cats’ welfare," concludes Michel Vandenbosch.

Long campaign

GAIA has been campaigning for years for the mandatory sterilization of cats, which will be implemented next year in Brussels and is already in force in Wallonia. Michel Vandenbosch reassures pet owners: "The goal is obviously not that domestic cats disappear. The purpose of the law is to achieve a balance between adoptions and abandonments in shelters, and to curb the continued influx of stray cats."

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