Expatica news

Cattle drivers acquitted

28 February 2007

BRUSSELS – The appeal court in Brussels acquitted seven livestock traders and cattle drivers active on the Anderlecht livestock market of charges of animal cruelty on Wednesday.

The seven had been charged with violating animal welfare law after animal rights organisations Gaia and Animaux en Péril made video footage showing the handlers using sticks and electric prods on the animals.

The footage was made with a hidden camera in summer 2000. The court in Brussels originally decided in January 2002 however that the footage could not be used as evidence because it the privacy of the defendants had been violating in the filming.

The court subsequently acquitted the livestock traders and cattle drivers. The animal rights organisations appealed the ruling and the appeal court did admit the video footage as evidence. The court ruled however that the images showed no deliberate wrongdoing.

“No evidence has been presented that there was deliberate intent to cause the animals pain,” the court verdict reads, ” the aim was to bring the animals from one point to another. Nor is there any evidence that any of the animals involved were unsuitable for transport.”

Gaia chairman Michel Vandenbosch said the ruling was a heavy blow. “This is unacceptable,” he said. “It is incomprehensible that the two appeal courts in Liege and Bergen both pronounced convictions on the basis of the same evidence and that this court refuses to do so. We are going to look into the possibility of further appeal,”

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news