The Council

  • discusses and deliberates on animal welfare issues
  • promotes mutual consultation and collaboration between stakeholders.
  • advises the Animal Welfare Service and the Minister, competent for animal welfare. Depending on the topic on which advice is being given, the Council undertakes an extensive or concise deliberation of the subject:
    • extensive deliberation: a scientific advisor from the Council prepares a report that includes a literature review, legislation in other countries and practical considerations on the subject. The steering committee evaluates this report, draws up scientific advice and appoints a coordinator who assembles a working group. The working group drafts an opinion, which is delivered to the Minister following approval by the steering committee and then the Council.
    • concise deliberation: in the case of a concise deliberation, only the Council discusses the subject and subsequently drafts an opinion for the Minister

The opinions take into account the latest scientific, ethical and social knowledge and information.


  • a maximum of 19 members
    • steering committee for day-to-day management: 5 experts from the scientific community
    • stakeholder representatives (professionals, veterinarians, consumers and animal welfare organisations):
      • 6 representatives from animal welfare organisations and shelters
      • 6 representatives from breeders, keepers and traders
      • 1 representative from the veterinary community
      • 1 representative from the cities and municipalities
  • the Council is assisted by a scientific advisor
  • members have a four-year mandate
  • the steering committee can assemble working groups comprising a maximum of 10 members


Chairperson: Dirk Lips

Vice Chairperson: Nadine Buys

Steering committee with experts from the scientific community

  • Dirk Lips
  • Nadine Buys - K.U.Leuven, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Division Animal and Human Health Engineering
  • Frank Gasthuys - UGent, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Surgery and anaesthesiology of domestic animals
  • Frank Tuyttens – Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Animal Sciences Unit
  • Hilde Vervaecke - Odisee, Departement agro- and biotechnology

Stakeholder representatives (professionals, veterinarians, consumers and animal welfare organisations) and their deputies

  • vzw GAIA: Michel Vandenbosch and Ann De Greef
  • West Flemish animal shelters: André Lycke and Geryl Siegfried
  • East Flemish animal shelters: Eddy De Landtsheer and Bart Vanderbeecken
  • Antwerp animal shelters: Helga Gille and Fabienne Schoesetters
  • Flemish Brabant shelters: Sabine Bovend’aerde and Dimitri Coppens
  • Limburg animal shelters: Dany Grosemans and Philip Zurinckx
  • Nederlandstalige Gewestelijke Raad van de Orde der Dierenartsen: Miguel Stevens and Joke Lannoo
  • vzw Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten: Marian Verbeek and Elsie Desmet
  • vzw Boerenbond: Els Goossens and Guy Van de Poel
  • vzw Algemeen Boerensyndicaat: Peter De Swaef and Karen Lievens
  • vzw Nationale Raad van Dieren Liefhebbers: Roger Van Look and Willy Tieleman
  • vzw Koninklijke Maatschappij Sint-Hubertus: Dimitry Van Raamsdonk and Bart Vandaele
  • vzw Andibel: Patrick Ghysels and Tom De Cock
  • vzw Comeos: Pieter Albers and Sami Hemdane