In Flanders, ponies or horses may no longer be used in carousels at fairgrounds, fairs and related events by 2023, Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare announced on Friday.
The Flemish government has approved a draft decree to this effect, reports Minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts (N-VA).
Fairground pony breeders will have a transitional period until 31 December 2022 and a compensation scheme will be put in place to guarantee the animals’ welfare, Weyts said. There are currently four fairground pony breeders.
“A civilised society has a damned duty to effectively avoid avoidable animal suffering,” according to Weyts.
“Step by step, we in Flanders are saying goodbye to outdated customs, which are no longer in keeping with how we as a society now look at animal welfare. No more unanaesthetised slaughter, no more block tails, no more fur farming or forced feeding and now no more fairground ponies.”
In Brussels, it has been forbidden to use ponies at fairs since 2019. However, this ban has been circumvented, for example by using mules or by relocating the carousels. Last month, the Brussels government tightened up the regulation by banning carousels in every place and extending the scope of application to all equidae, which includes horses, donkeys and zebras.