86% of Belgians in favour of including animals in the Constitution

86% of Belgians in favour of including animals in the Constitution

GAIA action
11 September 2017

Launched on World Animal Day on October 4th last, our aim to enshrine the welfare and dignity of animals in the Belgian Constitution is gathering steam. GAIA considers that it’s high time that animal welfare, the appreciation of their dignity and interests, fundamental values in Belgian society, be recognised by the country’s highest institutions. The ability to invoke the Constitution to make our country more animal-friendly would have an enormous potential impact, since competent bodies would thus be required to take full account of animal welfare and interests.

On June 7th, the President of the Senate, Christine Defraigne, and Senator Sabine de Bethune presented a proposal to amend the Belgian Constitution by including the welfare and protection of animals as “sentient beings endowed with interests and dignity.” The two senators made the announcement before the Federal Parliament in the company of Michel Vandenbosch and Ann De Greef, during a press interview.

At the same time, our online petition (www.animauxdanslaconstitution.be), aimed at mustering public support and encouraging parliamentary debate on the issue, has already gone well beyond 92,000 signatures. This figure was greatly boosted by our annual summer tour, held from July 26th to August 16th in 12 cities. And among the signatories of our petition figures no less than Prince Laurent of Belgium, who joined us for the launch of our summer tour in Brussels.

Our summer tour was also an opportunity to unveil the results of a recent survey carried out in July 2017 by the Ipsos Institute for GAIA. As revealed by the survey, 86% of Belgians are in favour of including animals in the Constitution, 90% consider animals to be sentient beings deserving of respect, 89% consider animal welfare to be of great importance, and 87% think that animal welfare is a key criterion of civilised society. Finally, 82% believe that animals have their own interests deserving of protection.

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