Force-feeding animals and producing foie gras is now banned in Brussels. Even though there is currently no such company operating in Brussels anyway, the decree adopted by the Brussels Parliament on Friday puts a stop to it in the future.
During the debate and vote on the decree, there was a Parliamentary homage to DéFI MP Barbara d’Ursel from Lobkowicz, who died on Thursday. Her family were present. She was heavily involved in the fight for animal welfare. Mrs d’Ursel was one of the people behind Belgium’s first inter-parliamentary group on the issue.
Her death influenced the final vote on the decree. The MR, which initially opposed it, abstained from the vote and said it was because of Mrs d’Ursel’s death. 66 MPs voted for it. There were 14 abstentions during the vote on the decree, which was submitted by the State Secretary for Animal Welfare, Bianca Debaets (Christian Democrats).
Mrs Debaets explained she wanted to ban force-feeding as it severely affects the animal’s welfare. Most parties agree, but the MR less so. Viviane Teitelbaum revealed the existence of a study led by Daniel Guéménché, a researcher at the National Institute for Agronomic Research, which questions many of these claims.
Liesbet Dhaene, whose party (New Flemish Alliance) eventually backed the decree, said it was hypocritical as the type of installation mentioned doesn’t exist in Brussels, however there is no rush to ban slaughter without stunning.
Marc Loewenstein (DéFI) said that although Barbara d’Ursel was convinced force-feeding needed to be banned, she would also have wanted all the parties concerned to have their say, out of respect for producers that care about animal welfare.