Gaia wants animal rights written into constitution

Summary

Belgium’s animal rights organisation is following in the footsteps of its European neighbours and asking that a number of freedoms for animals be written into Belgium’s constitution

Five ‘freedoms’

Animal rights organisation Gaia wants to see animal rights written into the Belgian constitution. The Brussels-based non-profit made the announcement on the occasion of World Animal Day, which is today.

Gaia pointed out that animals form a very vulnerable category of living creatures with certain welfare needs. “The respect for their dignity and guaranteeing their welfare should be included in the constitution as a fundamental duty of the state,” it said in a statement.

Gaia was inspired by initiatives in neighbouring countries Germany and Luxembourg, where animal rights were included in the constitution in 2002 and 2007, respectively. “So this should not be an insurmountable problem in Belgium either,” said Gaia president Michel Vandenbosch.

Gaia suggested five “freedoms”. Animals should be “free from hunger, thirst and malnourishment”, “free from pain and suffering”, “free to show and develop normal, natural behaviour”, “free from diseases and wounds” and “free from physical and physiological discomfort in terms of adequate accommodation”.

The animal rights organisation will ask constitution specialists to examine the idea. In the meantime, Gaia has already launched a petition in support of the idea.

Photo courtesy Gaia/Facebook