Worldlog Week 47 – 2010

26 November 2010

The e-mail campaign against unanaesthetised ritual slaughter that I talked about in last week's WorldLog has been a huge success! The Party for the Animals started this promotion to stop supermarkets from selling meat from unanaesthetised, ritually slaughtered animals. Since 18 November 2010, a total of more than 40,000 e-mails were sent to 22 different supermarkets!

The Royal Netherlands Veterinary Association (KNMvD) has indicated that some of the meat from unanaesthetised ritual slaughter ends up on Dutch supermarket shelves as 'ordinary' meat. They believe this happens because supply exceeds demand. Some of this meat that is slaughtered in the Netherlands is then exported. Moreover, this meat that would be rejected in the Netherlands based on ritual requirements ends up unlabeled in regular consumption chains. This creates the risk that consumers will buy meat from animals that have been slaughtered without anaesthetic and that is why the Party for the Animals started the e-mail campaign.
In reaction to the e-mails, a number of supermarkets have indicated that the meat labelled halal and/or kosher that they sell comes from animals that have been anaesthetised. These supermarkets however do not guarantee that they have no unlabeled meat from unanaesthetised, ritually slaughtered animals sitting in amongst the regular meat. A few supermarkets have guaranteed that all the meat in their stores comes from anaesthetised animals.

Good news from Dutch parliament! Last week the Lower House approved an amendment made by the Party for the Animals. The amendment means muskrats no longer need combating as a goal in and of itself. Up until the present time this was arranged by law. Muskrats are combated the country over because they dig in the earth and can compromise the safety of the dikes. They are usually culled using traps and snares. These methods are extremely cruel. The traps hardly ever kill the animals directly. The trapped muskrats suffocate or drown after minutes or more of suffering. Moreover, the effects of muskrat pest control on damage and population development has never been proved or researched.

The responsibility for controlling muskrat activity was transferred from the provinces to the District Water Boards due to a legislative change. The Party for the Animals grabbed this opportunity to use an amendment to hand the District Water Board the responsibility of preventing muskrat-caused damage instead of killing the animals to prevent damage. This way the District Water Boards can decide for themselves if combating muskrats is necessary or that alternatives to combating them will suffice.

Some other important news for this week is that my colleague Esther Ouwehand asked some parliamentary questions about the sale of endangered tuna in Dutch supermarkets. Research conducted by Greenpeace has revealed that canned tuna can often contain endangered and over fished species of tuna. The endangered tuna ends up canned thanks to the manner in which it is caught. Fishers use Fish Aggregating Device to catch skipjack tuna, but these devices also catch the endangered bigeye tuna also. This endangered species of tuna is hard to differentiate from the skipjack, meaning it too is caught and canned.

The report is on the Greenpeace website to download in English. The Party for the Animals wants the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the state secretary from Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation to address the companies involved about the fact that they trade in endangered fish species and are therefore breaking European law. The Party for the Animals believes that businesses that do not adhere to European law should be denied access to the Dutch market.

See you next week!