All posts filed under: animals in society

Among the hunters at the huntingexpo

Last weekend, there was a Hunting fair in Flanders Expo in Ghent (24-26 april, 2015). On the website of, it was announced as “the fair for hunters, with a passion for wild game and fowl, hunting and nature” (de beurs voor jagers, met een passie voor wild, jacht en natuur). No, I did not attend. But I was in Flanders Expo, for the REVA beurs, which was taking place at the same time in one of the other halls. On the parking and the surroundings of Flanders Expo, you could detect the hunters from a mile away! Tweed coats. Round cheeks and red faces from outdoor life. And I spotted a lot of 4×4’s and other big cars with dirt traces on the parking lot (often occupying two parking spaces, not nice!). And yet, I would find it interesting to attend this hunting fair. 

Armistice Day, but not for the animals

Armistice Day (or Remembrance Day) and we remember the millions of victims of the Great War and other wars. On some occasions, due attention is given to the millions of animals employed during wartimes and who were killed by bullets, shells, gas attacks or who died of deprivation or starvation. Horses and dogs were used for transport, cats to control the abundance of mice and rats in the trenches and pigeons used as messengers. Animals were also used as experimental subjects for munition, gas masks or bullet proof clothing. Animals as cannon fodder. Probably the most forgotten victims are the millions of wild animals who were exterminated as pests (the rats in the trenches) or the animals whose habitat was totally destroyed by the violence of war (at least those who survived the bombings). How it must have confused and bewildered the migratory birds flying over the thundering frontline. And as many soldiers returned home shell shocked or with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) I suspect millions of animals were similarly traumatised by the violence of war. And then also the …

No more ponies on Bruges annual funfair in May

On Friday May 9th, 2014, Bruges’ annual funfair ‘De Meifoor’ starts its 814th edition. About a hundred attractions occupy Bruges’ inner city markets for a couple of weeks (till June 1st). For the first time, there will be no attraction with live ponies on the Bruges Meifoor, according to reports in Het Nieuwsblad and Het Laatste Nieuws. Hurray! Finally! The Nieuwsblad captions “children will not be able to ‘enjoy’ a ride on real horses”. However, for the ponies, there is no enjoyment in it. In this funfair attraction, ponies walk little circles in a small arena for hours and hours on end. For a couple of euros, children can ride along on the ponies’ back for a couple of circles. The ponies have to endure the deafening music and bright scattering lights from surrounding fair attractions. Animal rights organisations have often protested against these pony attractions in several Belgian cities, and luckily, more and more cities are banning this attraction on their annual city funfairs. But the abscence of the pony attraction on the 2014 Meifoor in Bruges is not due to the city …