- Ban on all cage systems for laying hens:
Ban for new businesses from 01/01/2024. For existing businesses, the ban takes effect from 01/01/2036. "Of course, we would have preferred the 12-year transition period to be much shorter, but the principle of the ban is legally supported by a clear perspective for change (switch to free-range systems): no more caged laying hens by 1 January 2036 at the latest!" commented Michel Vandenbosch, President of GAIA.
- Ban on keeping cetaceans in captivity:
We welcome the ban on imports and breeding BUT an exception has been made (conditional derogation) for Boudewijn Seapark, which is still allowed to keep a maximum of 6 dolphins on condition that an outdoor dolphin tank is built by 2027. If an assessment concludes that there is an operational alternative, such as a sanctuary, which offers the dolphins a better level of comfort and quality of life, the dolphins will have to be transferred to this site. The first assessment is not due until 2037, which means that these changes will not be implemented until then. We believe that a waiting period of more than 13 years is too long for the dolphins.
"I don't see why the dolphins in Bruges couldn't be transferred immediately if a more appropriate environment where they can spend the rest of their lives can be found sooner,” commented Michel Vandenbosch.
- Mandatory shelter for all animals (previously only equines) from 01/01/2029.
- A general ban on the home slaughter of pigs, goats and sheep.
- Livestock markets will be banned (with the exception of annual markets, such as the Torhout horse market and the Sint-Lievens-Houtem livestock market).
- The culling of male day-old chicks will be banned, but this ban will be subject to the development of an in-egg detection technique. However, this technique is already being used successfully. Eggs selected using this technique can already be found on the shelves of certain Belgian supermarkets (Bioplanet, for example).
- There will be an animal-oriented police service in each police zone.
- Ban on killing animals for folk practices/events.
- A ban on the use of glue traps to control supposedly harmful animals.
- Standstill principle: new animal welfare laws and regulations cannot be rolled back.
- Animals are explicitly recognised as living beings with inherent sentience and value.
- The breeding of fighting cocks will be banned.
- Centres for exotic and wild animals will be given a specific status: they will no longer be equated with zoos because they are different in their philosophy and objectives.