Worldlog Week 48 – 2009

27 Νοεμβρίου 2009

This past week we witnessed animal suffering on a gigantic scale.

In Nepal tens of thousands of animals were cruelly sacrificed during the Gadhimai Fair Festival. At this Hindu festival, animals are decapitated in a shocking manner . What makes this even more incomprehensible is that so many Hindus lead a vegetarian lifestyle.

Across the world, Muslims are celebrating their ceremonial sacrifice which is also accompanied by the ritual butchering of hundreds of thousands of animals without anaesthetic. What many people don’t realize is that a substantial quantity of the meat of animals slaughtered in this manner ends up in the regular supply chain, resulting in a situation where many consumers buy meat of dubious origin. Together with the Royal Netherlands Society for Veterinary Science, the Party for the Animals is arguing for the mandatory labelling of meat of animals butchered without anaesthetic while butchering in this manner is still not outlawed. Our proposal for a government ban on this type of butchering was submitted to parliament this week. Click here for (truly heinous) images of ritual slaughter in Belgium.

The urgent need for measures against the ritual slaughter of animals without anaesthetic was again made clear following reports of serious abuses at one of the largest kosher abattoirs in the United States. The former owner may be facing 1250 years in jail.

Fortunately we also have more uplifting news to report. The Dutch Lower House has adopted a motion put forward by the Party for the Animals that mandates checks for animal experimentation before government subsidies are granted for scientific research. The use of animal experiments is currently not part of the assessment process for subsidy applications.

The Party for the Animals believes the government should first assess the ethical credentials of research before deciding to fund it. My colleague Member of Parliament for the Party for the Animals Esther Ouwehand has therefore asked the cabinet to explore ways of emphasizing ethical considerations when awarding government subsidies. A majority of members of parliament support this request.

In the debate last week with Minister Klink last week, Esther pointed out that ethical considerations regarding animal experiments are often made very late in a research programme. Research programmes can run for years before any assessment is made of whether the use of animals for the research concerned is justified. The Party for the Animals believes this hampers any fair assessment.

There was much support last week for our plea for the consumption of animal proteins to be drastically reduced. Scientists support this stand in the Lancet and the former chairman of the European Parliament also argues for reduced meat consumption.

Until next week!