Parliament will vote on new animal rights legislation, but a civil society group claims the legislation needs improvement.

Parliament will vote on legislation concerning animal protection on Thursday.

The new legislation will make punishments for animal torture stricter and give animals more rights.

The civil society group Mouvement Ecologique or Mouveco (ecological movement) has released a press statement on the legislation, claiming that it neither fulfills expectations or what is needed to give animals rights.

In particular, Mouvement Ecologique took issue with the fact that the legislative text does not adequately define the dignity of animals and its application.

Other criticisms from the group concern the lack of minimal criteria for keeping livestock as well as a lack of clarity concerning financial support to farmers.

Minimal criteria

In terms of the group's criticism surrounding the lack of minimal criteria, one example is that the legislation lacks a minimum size criterion for chicken nesting boxes.

The group also flagged concerns that the legislation does not address the problematic practice of placing chickens in cages or isolating social animals like horses and donkeys. The text does not address standards in keeping pigs or calves either.

Overall, Mouvement Ecologique expressed disappointment that European Union norms were not adequate for animal rights.

Lawmakers could be braver

Another criticism expressed by Mouveco is that Luxembourg's lawmakers could have been braver in challenging the status quo on the long-haul transport of animals. The group did concede that Luxembourg has gone beyond the minimal criteria of the EU, but still needs to work hard in order to achieve modern animal rights legislation. The group advised the government to improve regulations.

The current law on animal rights from 1983 is outdated. The new legislation will be changing many aspects of the law, including the new vocabulary of animal dignity, that is to say to treat animals as beings with feelings rather than things.

In that respect, the amended definition of livestock is a fundamental change. Until now, livestock were seen as objects both in civil and criminal law. This was problematic as killing or injuring livestock was seen as property damage instead of a criminal offence against a living being.

Stricter punishment

The new legislation will also be stricter in punishing animal cruelty by raising fines to up to 200,000€ and prison sentences to three years. If someone is a repeat offender in animal cruelty and torture, the new legislation provides the means to double their sentence - this would mean fines of up to 400,000€ and six years prison.

The new legislation will also ban certain types of practices, notably raising and killing animals solely for their fur, skin, feathers, or wool. The legal text also intends to ban the practice of winning animals in competitions or selling animals in supermarkets.

Once the law has been passed through parliament, the government will begin an awareness campaign of the new changes in terms of animal rights.