Worldlog Week 50 – 2009

11 Δεκεμβρίου 2009

On Wednesday I had a meeting with Paul McCartney on the night of his concert in Arnhem. As I had to leave the concert early to attend a TV broadcast about Q fever, he came to me just before he was due to go on stage to talk about the Meat Free Mondays campaign. A wonderful man! And I am certain that he will be a major influence behind reduced meat consumption in the years ahead.

After the TV broadcast about the Dutch outbreak of Q fever in the goat-raising industry, in which I accused the cabinet of criminally negligent murder, I was inundated with expressions of support. Within 40 hours, the petition we started had already been signed by 10,000 people who object to the destruction of healthy goats. And that’s just the beginning. In parliament I was severely reprimanded by the traditional parties for my language, both in the broadcast and in parliament. My use of the term ‘criminally negligent murder’ caused particular ire among my fellow parliamentarians.

Picture Brand Overeem
And yet I stand by what I said. A cabinet that knowingly decides not to publicise the outbreak sites of a disease that is potentially fatal to pregnant women and other risk groups and that is aware that the disease has already caused 3000 people of fall ill, 11 of whom have since died, is guilty of negligence.

It is shameful and scandalous that economic interests should be considered more important than public health and wellbeing. Equally incomprehensible is the fact that the mandatory immunization has not yet been carried out at many farms. The government prefers to look the other way and shelter the violators.

In October I argued for not allowing the goats to breed this season in order to limit any risk. That request was ignored and, consequently, goats currently with young on contaminated farms have been sentenced to death by the cabinet.

And as if things weren’t bad enough: goats are almost always ritually slaughtered without anaesthetic. In her response, Minister Verburg of Agriculture said that the goats ‘would be slaughtered in the traditional fashion’, but that under no circumstances would there be ritual slaughter without anaesthetic.

That doesn’t make much sense given that goals are hardly if ever slaughtered in regular abattoirs.

The growth in the goat-raising industry is closely linked to the number of Muslims in the Netherlands.

The Party for the Animals has submitted a motion of censure against Minister Klink of Public Health and Minister Verburg of Agriculture. It was no surprise that the motion received no support from the rest of parliament. But as is the case with many motions, other parties such as GroenLinks, ChristenUnie and the Dutch Labour Party submit similar motions about six months later. Take, for example, the motions regarding a government campaign on reduced meat consumption and stimulating the cultivation of protein-rich crops in our own region. Don’t get me wrong. We applaud when our ideas are adopted. Better late than never! After all, it is of essential interest to man, animal, nature and the environment!

Before I go, one more piece of news: the Dutch minister of the environment has announced that, from now on, only vegetarian meals will be served at her ministry. Great news. And she is going to propose that the other ministers do the same!

This week I will be attending the showing of Meat the Truth in Copenhagen during the climate conferenece. If you happen to be in the neigbourhood, you are more than welcome to drop by!

When: Thursday 17 December, 21:00 hours
Where: Green hall – Klimaforum09 Tietgensgade 65 DGI-byen 1704 Kopenhagen, Denmark.
For more info, go to

And for those climate sceptics whose shouting is getting ever greater, even if their numbers aren’t, I have found the following:

Until next week!