Animal welfare: The Brussels Parliament gives juridical status to animals

On Friday November 23rd, the Brussels Parliament adopted unanimously a draft recognizing the specific status of the animal by recognizing it as “a living being endowed with sensitivity, self-interest and dignity ‘special protection.”

In the current legislation, an animal is only perceived as an object, included in the category of property and immovables. But with the change introduced, animals will be recognized in the future as a specific group within the society, which will offer them a high degree of protection, at the legal level in particular, said on Friday the Secretary of State of Brussels, Bianca Debaets (CD & V), in charge of Animal Welfare.




For Mrs Debaets, at the initiative of the text adopted, “we are moving beyond the symbol stage. It will be important in the future to take into account the living and sensitive nature of animals when judging infringements in relation to animal welfare regulations.”

According to Mrs Debaets, only the Walloon Region has introduced a similar legislation. More broadly, at the federal level, the Senate is currently working on an amendment to the Constitution which stipulates “that the federal state and federated entities ensure the welfare of animals as sentient beings.”

“We are also inspired by countries like France, the Netherlands and New Zealand that are very advanced in this area. The ultimate goal is that the animal can finally benefit from the legal status corresponding to its biological character,” concluded Mrs Debaets.