A baby okapi, born at Antwerp Zoo in 2019 © Antwerp Zoo

The local council of Ixelles in Brussels has issued a ban on trips organised by communal schools to zoos like Antwerp Zoo and Pairi Daiza, La Capitale reports.

“As a council, we will not be organising school visits to places where animals are held captive, said councillor for education Romain De Reusme (PS). “We are not opposed to the concept of zoos, but our opinion is that there are other ways to observe non-domestic animals.”

The decision, the paper reports, was passed by the PS-Ecolo coalition in September of last year. For Ixelles mayor Christos Doulkeredis (Ecolo), zoos have no pedagogical value. “There are enough alternatives. Think for example of educational children’s farms.”

However representatives of Objectif XL, the local offshoot of cdH, criticised the decision of the majority. “Lessons in the classroom followed by the observation of the subjects studies have always formed part of educational methods,” said council members Geoffroy Kensier and Kathrine Jacobs of Objectif XL. “It’s such a shame to deprive children of the experience of the zoo, especially given the attachment children feel for animals.”

The decision of the council concerns only those schools under the direct management of the commune. Schools in the Catholic and community networks (French and Flemish communities) are not affected by the ban.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

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