Worldlog week 20 – 2015

11 May 2015

A few weeks ago, I talked about the controversial migratory bird hunt in Malta. Each spring, and so again this spring, hunters in Malta get permission to shoot migratory birds flying from Africa to Europe. My colleague Anja Hazekamp, who represents our party in Europe, has asked to abandon the migratory bird hunt this spring, but to no avail. However, the hunters themselves have burned their fingers by shooting a kestrel from the air. The kestrel ended up dead on a school yard full of playing children and, as a consequence of this bloody incident, the migratory bird hunt in Malta had to stop with immediate effect! This spring, the hunters have nowhere else to go in the EU. As far as I’m concerned, it stays like that!


Although the trade in seal fur was already banned by the European Union in 2009, an illegal seal fur trade still exists within the EU. Every spring in Canada, among other countries, hundreds of thousands of seal pups of only two weeks old are still clubbed to death on the ice. I have asked our Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Minister Ploumen, whether she is willing to confront the Canadian government on behalf of the Netherlands about this gruesome seal hunt and, fortunately, she has promised to do this.


In our own country, swan drifters are unfortunately still active. Although it has been prohibited to catch and kill swans for meat and down production in the Netherlands since 2008, two swan herders are currently still active in the Netherlands. The swan drifters keep and sell swans as ornamental birds. For this purpose, they remove a part of their wings, as a result of which the swans can no longer fly. The procedure is very cruel and will be prohibited in 2018. We have been opposed to swan herding for years and we have asked the responsible State Secretary, Dijksma, many times to withdraw the exemption. Last week, when the Dutch TV programme EenVandaag devoted attention to swan herding, the whole country could see how horrific these practices are. Following the social commotion this created, the State Secretary finally promised to withdraw the exemption. I hope she will stick to her promise!


The struggle for animal rights is in full swing: recently, two chimpanzees in New York were recognised as persons by a judge, which would give them the same rights as people have. At the next hearing on 27 May, it will become clear whether this will be a definitive judgment with accompanying consequences. Anyhow, it’s a good sign a judge is seriously looking into this matter.

See you next week!

Regards, Marianne