Worldlog Week 24 – 2011

17 Ιουνίου 2011

This week the Lower House held the public inquiry into our private member's bill to ban the ritual slaughter of animals without prior stunning. During the inquiry, scientists and representatives of the Muslim and Jewish communities responded to the bill. Members of parliament responsible within their respective parties for the animal welfare issues were also present. Having been present myself, I have every confidence that the Dutch parliament will now be able to come to an independent and well-balanced decision on the issue. So far there are no signs that we will not achieve a majority in the House. The vote on the bill will most likely make place before 1 July 2011. The concluding plenary debate will be held next Wednesday evening.

Our scientific bureau the Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation (NGPF) has published a new video document examining the background of the Kosher slaughter of animals in preparation of our bill to ban the slaughter of animals without prior stunning. The NGPF requested permission multiple times from representatives of the only Jewish abattoir in the Netherlands and of the Dutch Israelite Religious Community to film the kosher slaughter, which request was repeatedly refused. Consequently, the NGPF has produced a video document based an available video material of the kosher slaughter in other countries. Click here for the video. Be forewarned; the images are shocking.

I wrote an op-ed about the E-coli bacteria and the quest to find the its origin. In the article, I examined how the continuing fear of the E-coli bacteria was resulting in consumers not buying any agricultural product could be connected with the aggressive, pathogenic or even lethal bacteria which, according to the German Robert Koch Institute, is resistant to a dozen types of antibiotics in eight categories. However, the question of how a bacteria can develop that level of resistance to antibiotics, and particularly where, is barely addressed.

This week saw a debate in the Lower House on the animal cops. One hundred twenty-five police officers are being trained to start working as animal cops at the end of this year. In the past few months, State Secretary of Agriculture Bleker has repeatedly referred to the deployment of animal cops in supervising and enforcing animal welfare. But now that the deployment of the animal cops has been firmly placed on the Lower House’s agenda for the first time, none of the coalition parties considered it necessary for the state secretary of agriculture to be present at the debate in order to answer questions. We think it outrageous that the increasingly threadbare plans for the animal cops can only be discussed with the Minister of Home Affairs and therefore refused to participate in the debate.

The Party for the Animals is the only opposition party that enthusiastically supported the introduction of the animal cops. Already there are thousands of reports of neglected or abused animals. The capacity to investigate reports remains limited however. As long as the government’s plans regarding animal cops remain unclear, the animal cops are looking more and more like a scarecrow measure.

Finally, some good news from Italy. Last weekend Italians voted en masse against nuclear energy in a referendum. More than 94 percent is against the reintroduction of nuclear power stations in their country. Germany says no, Switzerland says no, Japan says no and how Italy has said no. And yet Mark Rutte and Maxime Verhagen want to continue with the nuclear programme. Incomprehensible!

Until next week,