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Brussels confirms ban on fairground ponies from January 2019
The Brussels region has voted to ban the use of fairground ponies from January 2019.
Bianca Debaets, the Brussels secretary of state responsible for animal welfare, confirmed the news on Saturday as the 137th Foire du Midi opened its doors to the public.
"I have received several complaints from individuals and animal welfare organisations about totally disrespectful conditions for fairground ponies," Debaets said. "Of course it's important that children have contact with animals, but there are more suitable places to do this, such as petting farms."
The CD&V politician has described fairground ponies as "out of date" and has said making the animals walk around in carrousels with loud music and other noise amounted to abuse. She said transitional measures would be discussed with faiground operators between now and the 1 January 2019 enforcement date.
At present, eight of Brussels' 19 municipalities have at least one fairground including pony rides. They are already banned in several Belgian towns including Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Waterloo.
Animal protection association Gaia welcomed the "excellent news" - and urged the Walloon and Flemish ministers responsible for animal welfare to follow Brussels' lead in a region-wide ban.