In Europe
A room with seated spectators. On the stage, a screen shows the head of a bird of prey.
© Sven van Gestel

Call to Care for Animal Welfare: the region champions animal welfare within the EU

Belgium is a fervent defender of animal welfare and is committed to advancing these issues at both national and European level. But did you know that animal welfare is a regional competence in Belgium? Our three regions cooperate closely on this issue, including as part of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Animal welfare has also been on the agenda of the EU institutions for over 40 years. Last December, the European Commission proposed a revision of EU rules on the protection of animals during transport and new rules on the welfare of dogs and cats and their traceability.

On 29 January, the three regions of Belgium jointly organised a high-level conference “Call to Care for Animal Welfare” to showcase our achievements in this area since the regionalisation of this competence in 2014 and to discuss EU policy and legislative work in the context of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU. His Royal Highness Prince Laurent, European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides, and our three regional ministers, including the Brussels minister for Animal Welfare were in attendance.

A lady makes a speech from behind a lectern.
Presentation by the European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides. © Sven van Gestel

At the conference, Julien Lacave, police inspector for the Brussels-midi area and head of the BALEN project (Belgian Animal Law Enforcement Network), explained the criteria laid down by Belgian law, as well as the upcoming Brussels animal welfare code, which is currently being adopted by the Parliament. He highlighted the problems encountered in practice in implementing the law, particularly when sales of animals take place online.

Researcher Lluc Bono Rosselló from the FARI institute presented the results of his research on animal welfare. He used artificial intelligence to analyse more than 30,000 online animal sales ads in Belgium to check whether they contained the necessary legal information. This research not only showed that 100% of ads did not comply with the criteria laid down by the law, but also that artificial intelligence can be a useful tool for detecting illegal ads.

Did you know?

Around 44% of EU households have a pet, of which over 90% are dogs or cats.