With the sixth state reform, animal welfare was transferred from the federal government to the regions as of 1 July 2014. A Minister for Animal Welfare was appointed per region, advised by a regional Council for Animal Welfare. This move allowed for working on a more local level within Belgium and at the same time increased the attention paid to animal welfare. Within the Brussels Capital Region, this increasing attention is noticeable. Plans have been developed for dogs, cats and pigeons. In addition, study days are regularly organised for various actors and an informative and dynamic website is available. Attention to animal welfare is also increasing at the municipal level. Both media attention and the attention of citizens and consumers are increasingly focused on how each municipality deals with domesticated and wild animals and what policies it develops in this respect. Consequently, initiatives are taken, such as the appointment of aldermen for animal welfare and officials with animal welfare as their task, and local actions are rolled out. Animal welfare is a fast-growing social and policy theme at all levels. To take up the challenge at the municipal level, relying on available scientific knowledge and on the expertise and tools offered by the regional government, contributing to knowledge development and sharing expertise are crucial aspects.
In the first instance, this project is based on the already existing plans and actions for dogs, cats and pigeons in the 19 municipalities of Brussels, as proposed by the Brussels Capital Region. A first evaluation is required in order to make a well-founded start with the necessary cooperation between the municipalities. In addition, the communes themselves are taking initiatives concerning these and other animal species, for which an inventory and - possibly - synchronisation would be desirable.
This project proposal has four main objectives:
- Inventory and evaluation of existing plans and actions (Year 1)
- Drawing up a roadmap
- Implementation and evaluation of new actions from the roadmap
- Autonomy and sustainability of animal welfare plans and actions