Animal welfare: upgrade to a ministerial job in Brussels

Animal welfare: upgrade to a ministerial job in Brussels

GAIA informs
18 July 2019

On 18 July, Brussels-Capital Region got a new government. Good news: responsibility for animal welfare now comes within the remit of a Minister, Bernard Clerfayt (DéFI) instead of a Secretary of State. While the government agreement is a good starting-point in the domain of animal welfare, it does have one serious shortcoming: not a word on the ban on slaughtering without stunning in Brussels.

Animal experiments

Regarding experiments on animals, the government agreement proposes ‘a drastic reduction’. However, to achieve this it’s not enough simply to support alternatives to animal experiments – what’s needed is a coherent political strategy of measures and firm targets in order to secure real results.

Training of police officers

Another positive aspect: the government wants to include animal welfare in the training of police officers, and recommends the enforcement of official local sanctions to combat the mistreatment of animals. This is excellent, because it can only encourage the enforcement of legislation relating to animal welfare, and effective action by the police. Far too often, mistreatment of animals is seen by the police as a low priority.

A licence to keep animals?

The new government also intends to look at whether it would be appropriate to introduce a licence to keep an animal: the licence could be revoked in the event of maltreatment. At the present time, a person who has maltreated an animal can still adopt or buy another animal. A licence could end this anomaly.

Dogs, cats and pigeons

In the previous government, Bianca Debaets (CD&V) had already stepped up the fight against intensive farming and the importing of puppies from Eastern countries. The new government will continue this initiative: it is proposing two regional plans to combat abuses in sales of dogs and cats. The new government also intends to come up with a global regional policy to manage the pigeon population. GAIA stresses the importance of an approach and solutions that will respect animals.

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