Animal Constitutionalism: Paving the Way for Animal Inclusion in the Belgian Constitution
An increasing number of countries decide to include animals in their Constitution. This animal constitutionalism movement is not unimportant since the Constitution is the pinnacle of the law, as a result of which the mere inclusion of a particular value in the Constitution indicates that society attaches considerable importance to this value. Belgian legislators have also considered the inclusion of animals in the Constitution for quite some time, and bills were introduced in the previous (2014-2019) and in the current (2019-2024) parliamentary term. This contribution will examine whether and how the inclusion of a provision on animal welfare in the Constitution would actually improve the position of animal welfare in Belgium. To this end, research was conducted into the animal welfare provision in the German Constitution (Article 20a) on the one hand and into the current legal framework governing animal welfare in Belgium on the other hand, with a particular emphasis on the case law from the Belgian Constitutional Court regarding animal welfare. Not only are the existing proposals (i.e. a Belgian animal welfare state objective and a socio-economic animal welfare right) to revise the Belgian Constitution examined, but two new avenues (i.e. a classic animal welfare right and fundamental animal rights) are also explored. All these results will be taken into account to make concrete recommendations for Belgian legislators.