Worldlog Week 18 – 2011

6 מאי 2011

As parliament has gone into recess, there were no debates this week. Time to recharge the batteries and enjoy the wonderful weather. But our work never comes to a complete halt.

Last week I submitted Parliamentary questions to Secretary of State for Agriculture Bleker regarding the recommendation to cull approximately 100,000 gray geese. This was the recommendation of the Geese-8, a group of eight nature and hunting organisations that wish to deal with the nuisance caused by geese by culling.
The recommendation states that the number of gray geese in the Netherlands should be reduced to 100,000, half of the estimated current total. Besides the terrible suffering this measure will the inflict on the animals, it is not a sustainable solution to the nuisance. The size of geese populations depends on the supply of food. The large-scale use of fertilizer in the agricultural sector creates grasslands rich in protein that attract geese. As long as there are grasslands that attract geese, culling will never be a sustainable solution. It will only stimulate an increase in the goose population and will attract migrating geese.

Consequently, I asked the secretary of state if he would be willing to reduce the use of fertilizer and apply more effective and more animal-friendly methods to deal with the nuisance caused by geese. Sowing fallow fields with white clover is one example of an animal-friendly method to keep geese away from productive fields.

In addition, I asked the secretary of state if he considered it ethically responsible to permit the mass wounding of legally protected birds for economic reasons. The large-scale use of lead shot in the culling will also seriously injure large numbers of geese. I also asked the secretary of state whether he thought it was ethically responsible to kill animals that pair monogamously for life – all for reasons of economics. I think not!

According to a media report I read last week, no other party opposes the Rutte government like the Party for the Animals. We have voted against government proposals in 73 percent of cases. And that’s sounds just about right: we are a party that sticks to its ideals!

On our website we have started an e-mail campaign to stop bee deaths. Via this campaign, consumers can call on garden centres not to sell herbicides that are dangerous to bees and other pollinators. Poisonous herbicides are a major contributor to bee deaths, which is occurring on a massive scale particularly in the Netherlands. These herbicides are not only used in the agricultural sector, but also by private individuals in their gardens. We want to see poisonous herbicides withdrawn from the market and we hope our campaign will get garden centres to stock their shelves with bee-friendly alternatives.

Bee death is however a worldwide phenomenon, which is having far-reaching consequences for people, animals, nature – in other words – the entire ecosystem. Our party in the Lower House is doing everything possible to stop the use of dangerous herbicides in the agricultural sector. If we lose the bee, we lose our food: eighty percent of plants used as food crops depend on pollination by the bee. We simply cannot afford to wait any longer – we must take action now. I therefore hope other countries will also step up to the plate and stop the use of dangerous herbicides to prevent to loss of the bee.

Until next week!