Animal welfare: 42 Brussels elected officials reject the ban on slaughter without stunning

The DéFI-Groen-Open Vld parties had filed a proposal for an order to prohibit slaughter without stunning. The Brussels parliament rejected the text on Friday. More precisely, the deputies had to validate or not the rejection of the proposal. Parliament validated by 42 “yes”, 38 “no” and 8 abstentions the conclusions of its Environment Committee tending to reject this proposal.

This vote closes the debate on the articles of this proposal and on the amendments, in particular the one that Arnaud Vertstraete (Groen) was preparing to defend and which proposed postponing the entry into force of the measure until one year later. the entry into force of a Code on Animal Welfare which the Region has yet to draw up.

Scattered votes within parties

As anticipated for a few days and during the long debate in plenary session, apart from the PTB, no French-speaking political group voted as a single man/woman, including among the co-signatories of the proposal.

At the house of Challenge, the rejection of the DéFI-Groen-Open Vld proposal was refused by six out of ten MPs and accepted by Mehmet Khöksal and Marc Loewenstein. Michaël Vossart and Nicole Bomele abstained.

The other abstentions are due to Viviane Teitelbaum (MR); Céline Fremault and Christophe De Beukelaer (Les Engagés); Pierre-Yves Lux (Eco); Khadija Zamouri (Open Vld); and Pepijn Kennis (Agora).

More generally, in the majority, the votes in favor of rejecting the proposal were a majority in PS (14 out of 16). As announced by those interested in the session, Julien Uyttendaele and Véronique Jamoulle voted against.

At the Greensthey are five out of fifteen to have done like the latter two (group leader John Pitseys, Ingrid Parmentier, Isabelle Peauthier, Thomas Naessens, Matteo Segers).

The elected PTB all voted in favor of rejecting the proposal, unlike those of the N-VA and MR (apart from Viviane Teitelbaum who abstained) who spoke out against the rejection.

Among the elect Vooruit (Flemish Socialists), group leader Fouad Ahidar spoke out in favor of rejection, much to the chagrin of his party chairman Conner Rousseau. The latter announced the eviction of the person concerned from the political bureau of the party.

A matter of animal welfare

Unsurprisingly, the three main authors of the proposal, namely Jonathan de Patoul (DéFI), Lotte Stoops (Groen), and Carla Dejonghe (Open Vld) defended the proposal during the debate, and at the end of the session.

Thus, the former welcomed the fact that parliament was able to debate this subject. Like his fellow co-authors, he recalled that the proposal was based on concern for animal welfare. This trained veterinarian added that it was also science-based.

For the MR, group leader Alexia Bertrand and MP Aurélie Czekalski stressed that there are now slaughter solutions to reduce animal suffering while guaranteeing respect for religions.

Prioritize religious beliefs

If Members of Parliament today set aside scientific and legal arguments to prioritize religious beliefs, what will prevent them from doing so again in the future – in other debates? The Brussels parliament is trampling on the foundations of our secular rule of law, for purely electoral reasons“, lamented Cieltje Van Achter (N-VA).

A vote against scientific arguments according to Gaia

The association for the defense of animals Gaia reacted outraged to the rejection, on Friday, by the Brussels parliament of the proposal for an ordinance aimed at prohibiting slaughter without stunning. “It’s amazing that parliamentarians with all the scientific arguments at their disposal deny that the earth is round“, thus offended Ann De Greef, the director of Gaia.

Relocation of meat production?

Conversely, Isabelle Emmery and Martin Casier (PS) pleaded for the rejection of the proposed order. The first highlighted in particular the possible consequences of relocating slaughter without stunning abroad on employment, prices and animal welfare. Martin Casier judged that the proposal was not proportional, in particular because it masks the fact that halal and kosher meat will indeed be produced abroad and sold – more expensive – in Brussels.

Via Bruno Bauwens, the PTB rejected the proposed order, judging that it only focused on the last two minutes of an animal’s life and did not dwell on the inhumane management of the entire life of the 300 millions of animals produced per year by the capitalist market.

Ecologists Ingrid Parmentier and Ahmed Mouhssin each expressed their points of view, one for the proposal, and the other against.

At DéFI, Marc Loewenstein made a point of saying that the production of kosher meat does not tolerate any form of stunning. In his view, while keeping the objective of animal welfare, it would be necessary to have the wisdom to prolong the debate with the representatives of religious communities on this subject “eminently sensitive and complex“.

Céline Fremault (Les Engagés) attacked more the form and the turn of the debate than the content to denounce the useless risk-taking constituted by the filing of the proposal for an ordinance on the cohesion of Brussels society. and that of the majority, as well as on the gap between the citizen and the political world. In his eyes, at the very least, it would have been necessary to deepen things.

This is also the point of view expressed by Pepijn Kennis (Agora) who asked for a postponement of the debate on the profession, starting with a deliberative commission in which citizens participate.

In this regard, Arnaud Verstraete (Groen) tried in vain to obtain a refusal of the conclusions of the commission tending to the rejection of the proposal for an ordinance and a modification of the latter for entry into force one year after the adoption of a Brussels Code on Animal Welfare.

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