Animal Welfare Code approved by the Walloon government

Last Thursday, the Walloon Government passed the “Code of Animal Welfare”. The text will soon be submitted to the Council of State, thus continuing its legislative course.

From the beginning of this legislature, the Walloon Minister of Animal Welfare Carlo DI ANTONIO undertook a profound reform of the law of 14 August 1986 on the protection and welfare of animals. 30 years after its adoption, it was urgent to modernize this text to address the current animal welfare concerns and challenges.

The Walloon Code of Animal Welfare aims to ensure the protection and welfare of animals taking into account their physiological and ethological needs, as well as their roles in society and the environment.

Animals recognized as sentient beings

Article 1 of the Walloon Code of Animal Welfare stipulates that animals are sentient beings: endowed with sensation, emotion and a certain level of consciousness. The sentience of Animal is at the heart of this Code.

Responsible Ownership

A license will now be required to own an animal. Every citizen will dispose of this permit automatically and without formality until a decision comes to prohibit it via the withdrawal of this license. The advantage of this provision is to be able to prevent the detention of animals by any person recognized for acts of animal abuse. A database to identify people who are prohibited from holding an animal will be implemented.

Abandonment and mistreatment

Abandonment, neglect and mistreatment of an animal are prohibited in Wallonia and are severely repressed. As the pet population is growing, a growing phenomenon of abandonment can be observed. In order to control this, the identification and registration of dogs and cats is mandatory under certain conditions.This measure is aimed to reduce abandonments and to easily find the person responsible for lost or abandoned animals.

The existing fee when registering a dog and a cat has been revised. From now on, this contribution will contribute to a specific fund against abandonment and animal abuse that will be used by shelters for the construction or renovation of their installations. In Belgium, according to current statistics, 1 out of 4 dogs will end up in a shelter. The fee will no change for the public but this unique contribution in the life of the animal has been increased to 20 euro for a dog and 5 euro for a cat for professional breeders. (french)

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