Worldlog Week 13 – 2008

28 מרץ 2008

It’s been a busy week. This week we had a debate about scandals in Dutch slaughterhouses. A leaked report from the Dutch Food and Commodities Authority revealed numerous atrocities in the Dutch livestock and meat industry. Since the House of Representatives was not satisfied with the results of the investigative report, Parliament itself has organised a hearing with whistleblowers from the industry and representatives from trade organisations. In the Volkskrant, one of the most widely read newspapers in the Netherlands, a former assistant inspector from various slaughterhouses revealed that dead animals were delivered to the slaughterhouse and, against all rules, found their way into the food production channels. He also reported a number of atrocities in livestock transport.

In the debate after the hearing, nearly all of the parliamentary parties said they were convinced of the seriousness of the situation. The only exception was the representative of the Christian Democrats, the former farm animal veterinarian Henk Jan Ormel, who continued to trivialise the matter. Minister of Agriculture Verburg has now promised the House of Representatives that she too has run out of patience. She has decided to require, as of 1 April, 100% monitoring of the loading and unloading of livestock by companies that do not adhere to current protocol. Additionally, she will initiate a supplementary investigation to ascertain the magnitude of the atrocities and how to end them.
The Party for the Animals will use motions to press for long-awaited definitive regulations that would be mandatory for everyone who is involved with the transport and slaughter of livestock.

Thursday I spoke with the nine representatives of our Provincial Parliaments. It’s good to see how they have secured such a strong position within one year’s time. Thanks to them, more attention is starting to be focused on the rights and welfare of animals in the Dutch provinces.

Last week, the Dutch Council of State advised that there are no obstacles to allowing the inclusion of rights for animals in the Dutch Constitution. The commonly used argument of opponents – that animals cannot practise their rights (animals cannot vote or go to court) – is far from convincing. After all, this is also true for small children and demented elderly who cannot practise their rights either yet they do have rights.

This week, the Dutch MP Geert Wilders released his short film Fitna in which he uses unnecessarily provocative language about Islam. Minister of State Hans van den Broek referred to it as political pyromania: people who light political fires to direct more attention to themselves, while not seeming to care about the possibly severe consequences of their actions.

See you next week.

Marianne Thieme