A step in the right direction…
After a historic vote, the Brussels parliament has unanimously backed a draft ordinance that acknowledges animals as sentient beings, rather than ‘objects’, which their old legal status classified them under. Following this vote, animals can no longer be detailed in the categories of property and immobile goods.
Instead, they will be classified as a specific group in society and will be allowed a better degree of legal protection. In court cases that look into violations of animal protection regulations, judges will be required to take into account the fact that animals experience emotions and pain, just as humans do.
Only the southern region of Wallonia, Belgium, offers a similar legal protection in the country, but reports say that the Senate is hoping for a constitutional amendment to compel the Federal State and its bodies to impose animal sentience protections.
Bianca Debaets, Brussels state secretary responsible for animal welfare said: “We are perfectly in line with the spirit of the Federal Government which, through Justice Minister Koen Geens, has proposed a modification of the Civil Code to remove animals from the category of goods and create a new specific category for them. We learned from countries like France, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, which are very advanced in this regard. The ultimate aim is for animals to benefit finally from the legal status that corresponds to their biological nature.”
Hopefully, Brussels’ vote will spur on other countries to adopt similar legislation, so animals will be given the rights that they deserve as sentient beings.