Flemish Parliament Endorses Animal Welfare, Toilets, and Abuse Relief

Sarhan Basem
credit: belgian-presidency.consilium.europa.eu

Brussels (Brussels Morning) – The Flemish Parliament passed motions on animal welfare, public toilets, and supporting Church abuse victims. New rules include animal welfare codex, accessible toilets, and a fund for abuse victims.

In its final session before the elections, the Flemish Parliament has endorsed a number of motions on issues including animal welfare, unrestricted public toilets and backing for victims of sexual abuse in the Church.

What Changes Will Flemish Parliament Introduce for Animal Welfare?

The animal welfare codex conveys together existing and new rules: they include restricting animal markets and home slaughter of certain animals, and alternative retributions, such as mandatory education and counselling, for people who push animal suffering.

Chicken cages must be substituted by free-range aviary systems, animals detected in the wild may not be kept, and every police zone must have a worker designated as responsible for animal welfare. Organisers of folk customs that concern animals must also abide by the rules. “If traditions cause animal suffering, then we must adopt those traditions,” stated Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts. 

Why is Accessible Public Toilet Resolution Important in Flanders?Why is Accessible Public Toilet Resolution Important in Flanders?

The parliament also unanimously approved a resolution on accessible public toilets. For some time, Christian democrat MP Katrien Schryvers has been calling for an expansion in the number of well-maintained, publicly unrestricted toilets in Flanders and for information about them to be more widely publicised. 

For groups including people with specific health conditions, senior citizens or parents with small children, the unavailability of a hygienic, accessible toilet can be an obstacle to daily life. 

The idea of a toilet pass, to be introduced no later than summer 2025, has also been supported. This would give people with diseases such as Crohn’s disease easier and more discreet access to toilets in shops, hotels, cafés and restaurants. 

What Support Does Flemish Parliament Offer Church Abuse Victims?

There was also unanimous consent to the 101 recommendations of the special committee on sexual abuse in the Church. Among other things, the committee calls for the composition of a fund to give all victims of sexual violence access to psychological care. The Church should contribute financially and, at the federal level, Flanders will look at the potential of obliging perpetrators of sexual crimes to make a financial contribution.

The committee also calls for a centralised authorisation point to guide victims through the fragmented support system, and for further apologies to victims of historical sexual violence.

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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.