Belgium includes animal welfare in its constitution

Belgium incorporates animal welfare into its constitution

The Chamber of Representatives in Belgium passed a law late Thursday night to include animal welfare in the nation’s constitution. 

The legal text, Article 7a of the Constitution, now explicitly states: “In exercising their respective powers, the federal state, the communities, and the regions aim to protect and care for animals as sentient beings.”

A two-thirds majority supported the amendment to the constitution, with 70 votes in favor, 23 against, and 29 abstentions.

Belgian animal protection organization GAIA welcomed the constitutional change, calling it a “historic breakthrough.” GAIA mentioned that Belgium is the 4th EU Member State to grant constitutional protection to animals. Germany, Slovenia, and Luxembourg are the other countries.

“Only 30 years ago, such a breakthrough was simply unthinkable. Today, animal welfare is becoming a constitutional value in its own right, joining other fundamental principles,” Michel Vandenbosch, the president of GAIA, said.

“This recognition reflects a major change in society and highlights the growing importance of animal protection in our country,” he added.

Critics expressed concerns that the amendment could endanger permits for agricultural companies. They also fear legal consequences for hunters, fishers, and livestock markets.

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