Worldlog Week 15 – 2011

15 April 2011

The past few days have been particularly tense. On Wednesday we continued the first phase of our legislative proposal initiative for a ban on unanaesthetised ritual slaughter. Because I am the initiator, I answered questions from the parties about said legislative proposal. During the debate I indicated that the scientific community agrees on the fact that not stupefying an animal prior to slaughter causes massive welfare issues. The list of reports based on a large number of scientific studies and publications that prove the animals suffer is overwhelming and convincing.

State Secretary Bleker from the Ministry of Agriculture spoke on behalf of government during the debate. He believes the Party for the Animals has sufficiently proved that animals suffer even more if they are slaughtered without anaesthetic. We also heard this week that the liberal People's Party for Freedom (VVD) supports our legislative proposal. We now have an overwhelming majority of the government behind us!

After the debate, I received a heart-warming letter from Joop Jacobs, veterinarian and son of a kosher butcher who I cited in my speech before parliament. I have included the letter below in its entirety.

Dear Ms Thieme,

Your speech today in parliament was nothing short of majestic. You have my sincere admiration. I was extremely impressed by your story and the way in which you, as a relative outsider in this matter, answered the questions your fellow politicians asked. Initially I was often on the edge of my seat, but I have to admit I soon relaxed entirely and followed your defence of the legislative proposal with pleasure. I am convinced you will succeed in having parliament accept the legislative proposal and I wish you nothing but success. Should you need me in any way, I would be more than happy to help.

Thanks to your defiant stance against unanaesthetised slaughter, we will see a change in slaughter practices, for which I am extremely grateful. It means a lot to us as Sam Jacobs the kosher butcher's descendents, because he stopped what he considers to be a barbaric method of slaughter over three quarters of a century ago. It only makes his horrific death at the hands of Nazi executioners four years later additionally tragic. We have always remembered our father fondly and your work adds an additional and spectacular facet to his memory.

With cordial salutations and sympathetic feeling. Yours,

Joop Jacobs

According to the current law, unanaesthetised slaughter in the Netherlands is banned, but with exceptions for Jewish and Islamic butchers. The 'unanaesthetised ritual slaughter private member's bill' aims to remove this special exception. The Party for the Animals believes in freedom of religion, but also believes that it is unacceptable for ritual slaughter to violate Dutch animal welfare standards. Freedom of religion will be limited to where animal suffering starts.

We have now completed the first phase of the legislative proposal. We now face a second phase in which Parliament can lodge motions and amendments. After that, they will vote. So things are going to be tense for a while to come!

Kind regards,