Worldlog week 52 – 2014

22 December 2014

This week, there was a major breakthrough for animal welfare in the Netherlands. As from 2015, it is truly prohibited to make wild animals perform in circuses. This prohibition was announced in 2012 already and it took a long time. The same prohibition was adopted in Mexico this week! Since our foundation we have called for the prohibition of animals in circuses and we are, therefore, very pleased with this result. But I am very surprised that camels, lamas, alpacas and dromedaries do not fall under this prohibition and we will put questions about this to the State Secretary.


But what is even more striking to me is the ground on which the prohibition is imposed: the reason given by the cabinet for the legislative proposal is that entertainment for people cannot justify violation of animal integrity. Thus, not only animal welfare but also respect for the animal itself is the basis for a legal act to ban performances with animals. This marks a milestone in the government’s policy on animal welfare and I hope that they will look at other issues the same way. We will work hard to achieve this in any case!

More good news! A majority of the Lower House voted in favour of our motion to curtail the use of toxins around nature areas. The growing of bulbs and other cultivations for which large amounts of toxins are used will no longer be permitted unjustifiably. Although, by law, the government has the task to eliminate damaging activities in vulnerable nature areas, it did not yet interfere with the growing of bulbs. This way, toxic pesticides have damaged nature areas for years, while in fact they should have been protected. It is now up to the provinces to restrain the use of toxins.


The last week before the Christmas recess was an eventful week in Dutch politics. The Senate (including our Senator) voted against the legislative proposal that limits the free choice of doctors. The majority arose because three senators of the governing party the Labour Party (LP) unexpectedly voted against the proposal. The LP promised during the elections that it would stop market forces in the care sector, and this legislative proposal (the wish of the coalition party People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (PPFD)) is contrary to this promise. The Cabinet was furious and exerted unprecedented pressure on the people’s representation to still say yes to the ill-fated plan to affect the patients’ law. A crisis followed, and they diligently searched for a solution.

The cabinet crisis is not surprising. The governing parties are each other’s ideological counterparties. The wish to continue to govern (they both are dramatically low in the opinion polls, two third of the voters no longer want this government) is so great that in the end they came up with a trick that would sideline the parliament, if necessary, to push the legislative proposal through. The debate on this went on till early in the morning.

The focus is on money instead of people in the current Dutch care policy. This is also evident from the threat to close the only vegetarian care centre for the elderly in the Netherlands. I have, therefore, asked parliamentary questions on this.

This week, research showed that the emission of ultrafine particles by aircrafts is much higher and more harmful than thought. In addition to environmental pollution, it also causes health risks for people living in the direct vicinity. The State Secretary promised us to be willing to conduct follow-up research, but was not prepared to take precautionary measures. These reports are however very alarming and the wait-and-see policy is highly negligent!

This interview with the British professor of sustainable developments on the dilemma of economic growth is very interesting to watch. Can we maintain our welfare without economic growth? Tim Jackson is convinced that we can, and that it should be done in the interest of the earth.

With the festive season coming up, many active members of the Party for the Animals handed out flyers in the Netherlands with a vegetable recipe and animal-friendly Christmas greetings. I sincerely hope that many people will respond to this and I wish you all a merry Christmas and a healthy, happy 2015.