Worldlog Week 12 – 2008

21 מרץ 2008

Welcome to my second Worldlog! I am pleased to be able to tell you that in its first week the Worldlog was visited daily by more than 1,000 visitors from all over the world. We have received very enthusiastic responses from people who didn’t realize that a Party for the Animals had seats in the Dutch parliament. We’ve also had very positive feedback about the film Meat the Truth. To give you one example, we were contacted by Professor Doctor Leopoldo Estol from Argentina, president of the Latin American Society on Animal Welfare, requesting permission to show the film in his country!

We will be filming the annual Genesis Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, on Saturday 29 March.

While there, we will be interviewing various celebrities and asking their opinions about the international version of Meat the Truth.

The first international premiere of Meat the Truth will be held in Leicester Square in London on 19 May 2008. So if you happen to be in London around that date…

This past week in parliament was a very busy one us for indeed. We announced a bill to ban the ritual slaughter of animals without anaesthetic in the Netherlands. The Netherlands makes a legal exception for religious minorities that allows them to slaughter animals without anaesthetic for their owns requirements (contrary to the statutory regulations). Because inspection was difficult and the last few years in the Netherlands have been marked by a trend towards “self-regulation” and less government intervention, the rules applying to this exception have been increasingly stretched and bent. For example, all slaughterhouses can now make unlimited use of this exception for the unanaesthetized ritual slaughter of animals.

Consequently, there are slaughterhouses that ritually slaughter all of their livestock without anaesthetic, allowing them to sell all their meat as “halal”. However, any unsold stock of this halal meat simply finds its way onto the counters of conventional butchers and supermarkets, with the consumer being none the wiser. The Netherlands has developed into one of the world’s largest exporters of halal meat, something that was never the intention of the government.

Since no one knows exactly how many animals are slaughtered without anaesthetic in the Netherlands (though we know the number is in the millions by now), this week I have drawn up parliamentary questions addressed to the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality requesting exact figures on the unanaesthetized ritual slaughter of animals, the export of this meat and our own domestic use. The Minister must reply within three weeks.

We hope to propose our bill to parliament for a total ban on the unanaesthetized ritual slaughter of animals before the summer. However, as legislative procedure is time-consuming, any change to the law may not be possible before early 2009.

In the meantime, we are happy to hear that Dr. Haluk Anil of Bristol University has studied the necessity for slaughtering animals while awake for religious purposes. His finding: there is no necessity!

In the Muslim community, there is a growing awareness of the ethical arguments surrounding the treatment of animals. Have a look at this fascinating website:

A research report was published this week in the Netherlands on serious abuses in the inspection and supervision procedures for livestock and meat. The government agency responsible, the Dutch Food and Non-Food Authority, has apparently made a total mess of the situation. There is nowhere near enough supervision, resulting in animals being transported and slaughtered in abominable conditions and a government that fails to uphold its own regulations.

The researcher, Honorary Minister R.J. Hoekstra (, said that the disturbing images evoked by a secretly leaked report on the failure of supervision were “recognizable”, but that he was unable to say just how great the scale of the problem was.
You haven’t heard the last of this – we will make sure of that. Our party has been approached by whistleblowers from the meat sector and in the coming week we, together with three other parties in the Dutch parliament (VVD, SP and GroenLinks), will organize a hearing to get to the bottom of this. We will then debate with the minister about the abuses and tightening the regulations. I look forward to informing you next week of how things go!

In the meantime, have a great week and see you next time,