Thirty years after the adoption of the law on the protection and the welfare of animals, the Walloon government adopted on 25 April 2018, the animal welfare code, still to be submitted to the Council of State.
Fourteen measures have been decided based on the principle that animals are sensitive beings, capable of feeling emotions and hold a certain level of consciousness.
the Code aims at ensuring the protection and welfare of animals:
- the keeping of animals
- prohibited practices and authorized interventions on animals
- animal trade
- the transport and entry of animals in the Walloon territory
- the killing of animals
- animal testing
- inspecting, investigating, identifying, prosecuting, punishing and taking restorative measures regarding animal offenses.
Main dispositions laid down in the Code:
- Regarding the detention of animals:
- A license will now be required to hold an animal. A database to identify people who are prohibited from holding an animal will be implemented.
- Abandonment, neglect and mistreatment of an animal are prohibited in Wallonia and are severely repressed.
- The identification and registration of dogs and cats is obligatory, under certain conditions.
- It is forbidden to hold a cetacean in Wallonia as well as animals for exclusive or main purposes of fur production.
- It is forbidden to organize animal fights or animal shooting exercises.
- As of 1 January 2023, horses will no longer be considered as an attraction at fairs. Circuses will no longer be able to hold animals other than domestic animals.
- Battery cages for laying hens will be prohibited by 2028 (egg code number 3) and will affect 9 farms in Wallonia.
- Regarding the animal trade
- It is prohibited, for the purpose of facilitating the sale or donation of an animal, to falsify information relating to its age, origin or state of health. It is also prohibited to market or give an animal to a minor or to canvassing.
- An animal that has not been identified or registered cannot be marketed, that is, donated or sold.
- Limit the advertisment of the commercialization and donation of animals to combat impulsive acquisitions.
- Regarding prohibited practices and permitted animal interventions
It is prohibited:
- To excite the ferocity of an animal.
- To impose on an animal work beyond his natural abilities.
- To improve the vocal abilities of a bird by blinding it.
- To ship an animal by post, to dye or colour an animal.
- To award animals as prizes, awards or donations in competitions, lotteries, raffles or betting.
- Collect hairs or feathers from live animals.
- To perform a painful procedure without anesthesia.
- Measures Regarding the transport and introduction of animals in Walloon territory
- It is forbidden to transport or to arrange a transport of animals in such a way that they are likely to be injured or suffer.
- The duration of the transport must not exceed the duration of 8 hours when moved to a slaughterhouse.
- The Government may prohibit or restrict the introduction or transit through the Walloon territory of certain species if there are risks of endangering the welfare of the animal. It may also lay down the conditions to be complied with for the introduction or transit through the Walloon territory of certain species.
- Regarding the killing of animals
- An animal can only be killed by a person who holds the required knowledge and skills, and following the most selective, fastest and least painful method for the animal.
- An animal is killed only after anesthesia or dizziness, with exceptions.
- For special slaughter methods prescribed by religious rites, the stunning process must be reversible.
- The Government may allow the slaughter of animals on the farm.
- Surveillance Cameras will be installed in slaughterhouses intended to verify that the welfare of the animal is respected.
- Regarding animal experiments
- Experiments that have no purpose related to human or animal health are prohibited, particularly those relating to cutaneous corrosivity, phototoxicity, cosmetics, biocides, detergents or aimed at developing tobacco products.
- Regarding animal welfare offenses
- Animal abuse is severely punished in Wallonia. The criminal nature of the facts can now be retained for the most serious cases of abuse. Sanctions can be followed such a prison sentence or a fine of up to 100.000 to 10 million euros.
Further information available on wallonie.be
GAIA has welcomed the announcement of the Animal Welfare code in Wallonia (read more here).