Worldlog Week 14 – 2010

9 April 2010

Minister Verburg of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality has giving the green light for goat breeding to recommence in the Netherlands as of 1 June despite the very dangerous disease Q Fever, to which more than 10 people have already succumbed. As a result of Q Fever, a national breed ban was introduced to stem the spread of the disease. We are extremely angry about the relaxation of this ban as the associated risks to public health have not yet been properly identified. What is clear is that the economy is again being prioritized above public health. The Party for the Animals will table a motion to reverse this relaxation of the Q Fever measures.

In 2011 we will be hopefully welcoming new colleagues in the Belgian parliament. Two parties that take a stand for animal rights will be contesting the federal elections in 2011. The first party, which shares our name: Party for the Animals, already contested the Flemish elections in Antwerp in 2004. The party has a programme that demands more rights for animals. They focus particular attention on the position of battery hens, minks and animals that live in the wild. The second party, ‘Party for Animal Wellbeing’ focuses on issues such as dealing with stray cats, the establishment of an animal police force and tougher punishments for animal abuse. Belgium has a electoral threshold of five percent of votes cast, which means that the two parties will have to do their very best to secure a place in the parliament. In any case, I wish them much success and I applaud their plans to merge the two parties!

On Thursday, the annual seat hunt got underway in Canada. Although the market for seal fur has contracted considerably with the European Union import ban, the number of seals that may be killed to the north of Newfoundland and Labrador has been raised by 15 percent to 330,000. However, the Canadian association of seal hunters expects that only a fraction of this number will actually be killed since three of the usual four buyers of seal pelts have withdrawn. The seal hunt on Canada’s east coast is the world’s largest. In Europe there is much opposition to the hunt and the way in which young seals are killed and skilled.

In the Netherlands, the legislative proposal that would put an end to fur-bearing animal production was withdrawn at the last moment for debating in the upper house of the Dutch parliament or senate. The small Christian parties in the senate threatened to vote against the legislative proposal if the introduction date was not pushed back and a more generous compensation package was not arranged for mink breeders. Since the senate cannot amend a legislative proposal, it will be returned to the lower house. We will have to wait until the next parliamentary term for the legislative proposal to be debated because of the early elections in the Netherlands set for 9 June. In any case, the Party for the Animals will continue to work to get the breeding of fur-bearing animals banned in the Netherlands once and for all.

Finally, I would like share the good news with you that ever more political parties are including animal welfare in their election programmes. Last week I mentioned how happy we were with the proposal to include a 'meat tax' in the Netherlands’ retrenchment plans. This week political party ‘Democraten 66’ (D66) proposed a ‘bulk meat tax’, which would raise sales tax on non-biological meat to 19 percent instead of 6 percent. The ChristenUnie, a Christian political party, has replaced its agriculture spokesperson on its list of candidates with someone from the Centre for Agriculture and the Environment who is known to be a critic of the consumption of animal-derived proteins. I know for certain that none of this would have been achieved without our presence in the lower house here in The Hague. Excellent news!

Till next week,