Worldlog Week 50 – 2011

16 December 2011

This week the Dutch senate threw up a barrier to the adoption of the bill seeking a ban on the ritual slaughter of animals without stunning. On Tuesday night a majority of the senators declared their opposition to the bill. The debate will continue on 17 January, but the parties are unlikely to change their position. While the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA), D66 and the largest party in the government, the VVD, voted for a ban in the Lower House, they allowed themselves to be swayed by a monstrous alliance of Christian parties to allow this extremely animal-unfriendly method of slaughter to continue.

Following an intense debate that practically lasted the entire day, during which the VVD decided early on to side with the Reformed Political Party (SGP) and the other religious parties, the PvdA and D66 also chose to join this monstrous alliance later that evening. An extraordinary exercise in collective evasion by seeking cover with each other against the electoral consequences of allowing the terrible and avoidable suffering animals endure when being ritually slaughtered to continue.

Photo: Menno Herstel

Angry reactions to the VVD turnabout on the issue already started coming in this week. Ex-senator Robert de Haze Winkelman (VVD) cancelled his party membership because he believes that “the freedom of religion can never be an alibi for mistreating animals.”

State Secretary for Agriculture Bleker again assumed a surprising role in this debate by announcing, literally at the last moment, a covenant to regulate the more undesirable aspects of ritual slaughter. Although the state secretary had not yet prepared anything, he unexpectedly announced a letter on this issue and thereby offered the PvdA and D66 a convenient way to throw in their lot with the VVD and the religious parties.

The fight to end ritual slaughter without stunning will continue unabated. On the day following the debate I announced on national television that I intend to prepare a new bill that takes into account the objections of the Upper House in order to get a ban passed in any event. A long agonizing death for animals without prior stunning to accommodate religious rituals has no place in today’s Netherlands.

Tomorrow I will be travelling to participate in our party’s excellent campaign “Growing Resistance”, when we will be planting the first 10,000 protest trees in a polder. This campaign, which I mentioned in last week’s Worldlog, has been launched as a protest against State Secretary Bleker’s disastrous new nature act which is due to be passed in 2012. The planting of a protest forest strikes a sensitive chord with animal and nature lovers. Already more than 23,000 people have purchased a tree as a sign of the Growing Resistance against the demolition policy of this government.

The aim of this initiative is to give citizens a way to create the ecological connection zones the government wants to scrap. Everyone that has ordered a tree is welcome to come along and plant a tree and express his or her concerns on a label that will be attached to it. Those unable to attend in person but who nevertheless wish to be involved in the Growing Resistance can count on volunteers who will be on hand to plant their tree for them.

It is going to be a fantastic day and there will be more to come: tomorrow the first 10,000 trees will be planted but an additional 13,000 have been ordered and they will be planted in another nature reserve sometime in 2012!

I gave a nice interview to a journalist from Greece about our party, world food distribution and more. For our Greek readers, the interview can be read here.

A little while ago I told you that I was expecting a baby and the moment is getting ever closer. From mid-January I will be on maternity leave. I will therefore be back shortly after the Christmas recess, but after that I will be taking 16 weeks to enjoy (the arrival of) my new child.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!