Legislation and policy


Why we started with sanctuary De Zonnegloed Vzw

We’re part of this earth and all living animals on it.

We received the assignment to respectfully care for this earth while enjoying it with all our hearts.

Because of this we want to restore all that is broken by the hand of man and teach each other to act differently, all out of respect for Him and His creation.


Our principles

Exotic, non-domestic animals are independent creatures with feelings which shouldn’t be used for economical purposes. Our philosophy is that every animal should be treated as such: like a living creature with a conscious and feelings. This entails that every animal should be able to behave in a way that’s close to their natural behaviours and in an environment that’s similar to their natural habitat.

Sadly enough, animals are seen as goods in the European legal system. This means that exotic, non-domestic animals can be traded freely and people are free to use and keep the animals any way they like. Luckily there are general animal protection laws and regulations about the protection of these animal species.

Though there are a lot of shortcomings within these laws and regulations and it’s easy to find loopholes. Because of this the major economic interests that are part of trading in exotic animals are being protected and sustained. The intrinsic value of the animals is overlooked.



With the knowledge we gain from the temporary shelter, rehabilitation and definitive shelter, we also want to contribute to the welfare improvement of exotic animals overall.

De Zonnegloed is recognised in Europe for its work as a permanent shelter for native and exotic wild animals. Thanks to our experience, we have a unique perspective on the enormous problem of keeping exotic, non-domesticated animals, which forms the basis for our policy influence. Unless better legislation and policies are implemented, the problem won't be solved and we'll have to continue to save bears from circuses and monkeys owned by private owners.

At the moment these kind of animals are widely traded, exploited in the entertainment industry or kept as pets in unsuitable conditions, often leading to serious welfare problems. We address those issues that cause or are likely to cause the most problems in practice. 

We are currently active in the following programmes:

  • Private ownership of exotic animals: positive list
  • Illegal trade in wild animals
  • Wildlife in entertainment
  • Primates used in laboratories
  • Regulation as a sanctuary
  • European parliament: the wild animal shelter crisis
  • Trophy hunting: rich westerners stayed off your feet.  Stop the hunting safaris