What will change for animals on January 1, 2019?

What will change for animals on January 1, 2019?

GAIA informs
28 December 2018

Respite for fairground ponies

On January 1, 2019, many things will change in terms of animal welfare. "The regionalization of animal welfare policy has created a positive dynamic," says GAIA Director Ann De Greef. “Over the past four years, many important decisions have been made and will be implemented in the years to come. For example, the ban on new installations keeping hens in cages (2028) in Wallonia, the ban on fur farming (2023) in Flanders, or the ban in Flanders on force-feeding for foie gras (2023)."

But on January 1, 2019, what will really change for animals?

As of January 1st, fairground pony rides will be completely forbidden in the Brussels-Capital Region.

In Wallonia, this same ban will come into effect on January 1, 2023.

As of January 1, 2019, the sterilization of cats becomes compulsory in Wallonia.

In Brussels and Flanders, this obligation has already been in force since 2018. Therefore, the sterilization of domestic cats will now become a nation-wide obligation. A first in Europe ... and yet, a very necessary obligation because "too many cats kills cats." In fact, every year around 30,000 cats wind up in Belgian animal shelters, and more than a third of them must be euthanized because of lack of space and lack of adopters. "It's not the fault of the shelters, but rather the fault of the cats’ owners who ‘let nature take its course’," explains Ann De Greef. Years of awareness campaigns have not been enough to solve the problem of the overpopulation of stray cats. Thus, a law was necessary to set things straight.”

On January 1, 2019, the flagship measures of the Walloon Animal Welfare Code will come into force.

Approved - almost unanimously - by the Walloon Parliament on October 3, 2018, the Walloon Code of Animal Welfare contains various measures that will be applied from the beginning of 2019. Among the most striking: the introduction of an animal ownership permit that will allow anyone over the age of 18 to keep an animal. In the event of a breach, both the permit and the animal may be withdrawn. Another noteworthy measure set out in the new code is the ban on glue traps in Wallonia. "This is a highly important step forward because once caught in a glue trap (a plate coated with glue), the animal undergoes an agony that can last several days,” says Ann De Greef. “It is almost impossible to save an animal whose fur or feathers have become covered with glue.” Among the other new provisions in the code is the obligation to install surveillance cameras in all slaughterhouses in Wallonia. Finally, as of January 1, 2019, any animal kept at pasture will be required to have a natural or artificial shelter protecting it from wind, sun or rain.

As of January 1, 2019, it will be forbidden to slaughter animals without stunning in Flanders.

After more than 22 years of campaigning by GAIA and other animal rights associations, the Flemish Parliament approved a ban on slaughter without stunning on June 28, 2017. Starting in January 2019, a prior stun or reversible stun by electronarcosis should be systematically carried out for sheep and goats before slaughter. For cattle, immediate stunning after having their throats cut (post-cut stunning) will be applied until a reversible stunning method is developed for the specific breeds of cattle slaughtered in Belgium. In Wallonia, where the Parliament passed a similar law on May 17, 2017, this ban will only come into force nine months into the new year. In fact, a derogation has been given for ritual slaughter, for which reversible stunning by electronarcosis (a process that does not in itself lead to death of the animal, bled after being stunned) will not be required until September 1, 2019. For the moment, slaughter without stunning is still tolerated in the Brussels Region.

2019 will also be the year of the aldermen for Animal Welfare.

The political and social importance of animal welfare continues to grow, and this phenomenon is also evident at the local level. Never before have there been so many aldermen for Animal Welfare, and everything indicates that their number will only increase in 2019. "While there has been a lot of progress over the past four years, our work is far from over," says Ann De Greef. "The ban on slaughter without stunning in Brussels, the ban on force-feeding in Wallonia, the ban on surgical castration of piglets in Flanders and Wallonia and the ban on cages for laying hens in Flanders: these are just some of the issues we will continue to face in the years to come and for which we will continue to fight!"

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