Worldlog Week 40 – 2010

8 Οκτωβρίου 2010

The die is cast. A VVD/CDA governing coalition with the parliamentary support of the PVV will be a reality. This followed a lot of extensive and typically Dutch bargaining. Within the CDA, two members of parliament object to cooperation with the PVV, the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders. Last week they indicated that, while they still objected, they would support the new governing coalition nonetheless. It is a very unusual coalition formation and they will have to be very careful that no members of parliament vote against and kill proposals, which, with a minimum minority of 76 seats, will be very easy to do. We will be following this governing coalition critically when it comes to animals, nature and the environment. Apart from the establishment of an animal cop brigade (basically a token gesture aimed purely at cashing in on the pro-animal sentiment in Dutch society) and a rather vague proposal to reduce the number of animal experiments, there’s not much animals can expect from the new governing coalition.

As I told you last week, the debate in the Upper House has begun concerning the bill to ban the raising of furred animals for their fur. This bill was supported by the majority of the Lower House, but may now flounder in the Upper House because the ChristenUnie party seems to be withdrawing its support. This party wants the guarantee of compensation for the breeders before they approve a ban in 2024! The debate will continue this week. The Party for the Animals will continue to push for this ban in order to stop this horrendous industry once and for all.

In other news, the Party for the Animals has negotiated in the Lower House the preparations for a ban on the harvesting of eels infected with dioxins. Eels caught in a number of polluted areas in the Netherlands contain many more dioxins than is safe for public health and should therefore not be sold.
A report from “Zembla”, an investigative journalistic television programme in the Netherlands, shows that inland fishermen are largely ignoring a temporary ban and that fishmongers have for years been selling heavily polluted eels as though they were caught in clean waters. The Party for the Animals wants a permanent ban imposed in the polluted areas immediately. The minister of agriculture, nature and fisheries, however, wants to give the sector one more chance.

My colleague Esther Ouwehand points out that this chance, which will involve the introduction of a quality mark and tightened supervision, will result in a lot of bureaucracy. Consequently, she has submitted a motion to get preparations for a statutory ban underway. That ban can be implemented once it turns out that the measures currently being revealed are ineffective or excessively expensive in terms of money and enforcement. The motion was accepted by a clear majority in the House.

In the province of North-Brabant, our Brabant chapter has started a petition to stop the shooting of feral cats. As a result of this regional initiative, I have submitted Parliamentary questions to the Lower House and a national “cat hunt” reporting centre has been opened. The Party for the Animals is dead against the shooting of cats, a practice which unfortunately still occurs regularly in the Netherlands. Cats are shot because, in nature reserves, they can sometimes form a threat to other species, such as mice, frogs or birds. But this is often not the case at all. Shooting is primitive, and what is more, how can a hunter tell if a cat is feral. The Party for the Animals is arguing for the cats to be caught in box traps by the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals which will then check whether they have owners. Cats that have no owners can be sterilized and returned to the wild.

And we end with a fantastic plan from Paris! While the Dutch prime minister-in-waiting, Rutte, cannot wait to start pouring more asphalt in order to “solve” the nation’s traffic congestion problem, the mayor of Paris has presented a far better plan. He wants to make electric cars available and establish special car parks for them. The experiment will start in June 2011, and will involve 300 electric cars and 700 charging stations spread throughout the city.

Until next week!