Worldlog Week 36 – 2010

10 September 2010

There is so much going on around the cabinet formation discussions that I could post an update each week. On Friday 3 September, Geert Wilders’ PVV pulled the plug out of the negotiations because he no longer had confidence in the CDA. Consequently, all political parties were again invited to visit the Queen, during which visit it was announced that the negotiations to form a minority cabinet with the VVD and CDA with parliamentary support of the PVV would be resumed after all. PVV had regained its confidence after Ab Klink of the CDA resigned. Klink indicated earlier that week that he would no longer support the negotiations with the PVV.

Despite the fact that the negotiations had been resumed, last Thursday I had a discussion with Tjeenk Willink, the new informateur (who is the politician who investigates on behalf of the Queen whether a proposed cabinet formation will succeed). I repeated to him my opinion that I consider this potential right-wing cabinet to be extremely unstable, partly because it will have no majority in both Upper and Lower Houses. Fortunately, Tjeenk Willink heeded the call of the Party for the Animals to examine with the leaders of the parliamentary parties in the Upper House whether effective cooperation is possible between this minority cabinet and the States General (which is the Upper and Lower Houses combined).

To boost the chances for a sustainable society, we are pleading for a draft government agreement drawn up by experts who ‘stand above politics’ that includes both the necessary cuts and the changes we need to make for a sustainable society. Then we can decide which parties would best fit this government agreement.

Now something completely different. Fortunately, the Dutch Agricultural and Horticultural Organization (LTO) is waking up to the fact that we need to stop the excessive transporting animals for slaughtering as that is adverse to the wellbeing of the animals. Toon van Hoof, the LTO’s animal health manager said it was not necessary to drive past twenty abattoirs before getting your animals to one particular abattoir and that this practice was bad for the wellbeing of the animals, increases the risk of disease and lowers the quality of the product. Van Hoof wants animals to be transported within a radius of 500 kilometres, which the Party for the Animals still considers too large as that means around 6.5 hours in a cattle truck. We want a maximum of two hours.

The Party for the Animals is disappointed about the review of the European Animal Testing Guidelines that was handled by the European Parliament last week. While the amendment to the Guideline presented the perfect opportunity to drastically limit animal testing, it was all about serving the interests of science and the pharmaceutical industry. The initial proposal of the European Commission to amend the Animal Testing Guideline had already been substantially watered down under pressure from scientists and pharmaceutical and toxicological companies. Furthermore, the Netherlands has had plenty of opportunities to present proposals for better protecting the interests of animals in the Animal Testing Guideline. The Party for the Animals has therefore repeatedly pressed for the Netherlands to play a proactive role in the negotiations on the review. Unfortunately without result.

Not all new from Europe is bad, however. The European Parliament has again called for a ban on the sale of meat from cloned animals and their offspring. It had already called for such a ban back in July, but the European Union has not taken action. Cloned animals live shorter and are more susceptible to disease – so a ban would be good for both animal wellbeing and food quality. Let’s hope the ban is passed soon!

Until next week,