Worldlog Week 44 – 2011

4 November 2011

The Netherlands will finally introduce rules to protect buildings housing animals against fire! On Tuesday the Lower House adopted a motion whereby animals kept in sheds and stables are no longer seen as objects. That has been the case up to now under the Buildings Decree which applied the same fire safety standards to sheds and stables as to warehouses. Fortunately, a majority of the House no longer considers this acceptable.

The risk of fire is particularly high in stables owing to short circuits and machines overheating during operations. The lack of suitable fire safety requirements means that often the fire department is unable to save the animals when called out to the scene. Consequently, more than a million animals have met their deaths in this horrible manner in the past five years. Hopefully this adopted motion will go some way to changing this situation in the future.

This week Esther Ouwehand and I launched a campaign against the arbitrariness of the tax rules. We want the services of veterinarians to be henceforth subject to the lower rate of valued added tax (VAT). We also want the fee people pay when taking an animal from a shelter to be subject to the lower rate.

The current tax situation in the Netherlands is such that when people buy an animal they pay 19% VAT. Furthermore, when someone’s pet is sick and the owner goes to see the veterinarian, 19% VAT is slapped on top of the vet’s bill. According to Esther, “Going to the vet to make your sick pet better is not a luxury but a necessity and it should be taxed as such, that is by six percent.”

Inspired by our film Meat the Truth, some filmmakers in Denmark are now producing a film on meat consumption entitled MAD A/S, which is a play on words since MAD means food in Danish. The trailer with English subtitles can be viewed here! A Like the Netherlands, Denmark is a country where huge numbers of pigs are raised in the bio industry under abominable conditions where they are fattened up for slaughter. Hopefully, a film like MAD A/S can steer Denmark towards more animal-friendly and climate-conscious policy.

In order to finish the film, the filmmakers need one million Danish crowns (which is around 135,000 euros). On the website, you can read about the film and make a donation. Although the website is only in Danish at the moment, an English version will soon be up. And speaking of Meat the Truth, the film has been viewed more than 100,000 times. Have you not seen Meat the Truth yet? The film – in ten different languages – can be viewed here:

More beautiful and emotional pictures from The Big Picture of The Boston Globe marking the seventh billion person to be born. Even with that number, the earth fortunately offers enough for everyone’s needs but everyone’s greed…

Until next week!