The sterilisation of cats will soon be compulsory in Wallonia and Brussels

The sterilisation of cats will soon be compulsory in Wallonia and Brussels

GAIA informs
23 April 2015

The results of our major investigation on the sterilisation of stray cats in Belgium were published in late April by the newspapers of the Sudpresse group, leader of French language daily press in Belgium. It was revealed that Wallonia’s Minister of Animal Welfare, Carlo di Antonio, will require as of 2017 that all cats in Wallonia must be sterilised or castrated. The Brussels-Capital Region will follow suit, according to Vice-Minister for Animal Welfare, Bianca Debaets.

GAIA is delighted with this excellent news, which rewards nearly ten years of campaigning, and which addresses the root cause of cat overpopulation. Hopefully such measures will finally oblige cat owners to be more responsible and will reduce the number of unwanted cats.

In addition to this measure, GAIA urges the continuation of existing municipal sterilisation programmes, public awareness campaigns, as well as punitive measures, in the form of criminal penalties, for failure to comply with these new laws.

Our major survey

In our extensive survey of 269 Walloon and Brussels municipalities, we found that in 2015 alone a total of € 205,344 of public money is earmarked for the sterilization of stray cats. More precisely: 63 municipalities have a specific policy and budget for management of stray cats, 47 municipalities are either in the discussion stage to provide a budget for sterilisation of stray cats, or see it as a possibility, 96 municipalities thought such a policy irrelevant in their case, and 74 municipalities gave no answer.

At the regional level, 61% of Brussels municipalities and 20% of Walloon municipalities have a policy for sterilisation of stray cats.

Note also that these amounts do not include parallel actions undertaken by private individuals, non-profit organisations and animal shelters, which assume all expenses involved in the sterilisation of stray cats. The total amount spent by all stakeholders, directly or indirectly, is thus much more than the budget provided by towns and municipalities.

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