The Commission on Environment in the Brussels regional parliament on Tuesday unanimously passed a draft ordinance banning the use of ponies in merry-go-rounds at fairs throughout the capital region from January 2019. The region’s Secretary of State in charge of Animal Health, Bianca Debaets (CD&V – Christian Democratic and Flemish Party) who initiated the bill, said using ponies in a noisy environment and limited conditions of well-being was outdated.
“We had received many complaints by citizens and animal rights organisations about the totally disrespectful conditions reserved for ponies at fairs,” she said on the margins of the debate in the commission. “Evidently, it’s important for children to come into contact with animals from a tender age, but there are suitable places for that such as urban farms.
“Today, we can no longer have ponies going round and round for a very long time in an atmosphere of very loud music and the deafening sound of the other attractions.”
The draft has received a positive reaction from the Brussels Animal Health Council and is soon to be validated in plenary.
According to Ms. Debaets, nine of Brussels’ communes have at least one fair with a pony merry-go-round. Until now, the decision on whether to use ponies in fairs fell to the communal councils. In Brussels Region, various communes have come out in favour of a region-wide approach.
In Flanders and Wallonia, some localities have already decided to impose a ban, including Ghent, Anvers, Bredene, and Waterloo.