Worldlog Week 41 – 2009

9 אוקטובר 2009

Sunday 4 October was World Animal Day, a day in which many house pets receive extra attention from their owners. Animal Protection (Dierenbescherming) used Monday 5 October to promote their forgotten animals campaign. The idea is to give thought to all the animals in the Netherlands that receive no extra attention and that live in abominable factory farming conditions. Tuesday’s theme was animals and the law.

Last week the debate on the Animals Act made the Lower Chamber’s agenda. It is an act that is meant to guarantee animal welfare. But the Minister of Agriculture's new act focuses on the production and sale of animal products. Economic interests drive this law, not the best interests of any animal.

Minister Verburg wants to deliver more animals to the market – and the forgotten animals can indeed forget about getting help…

I see no concrete proposals in this legislative proposal to improve animal welfare in the Netherlands and for this reason I find it both sub par and in conflict with the zeitgeist which demands more attention for animal welfare.

We require a complete animal welfare act that has animal welfare at its fundament. Pets, who often suffer at the hands of breeders and handlers, will still probably be left behind in the woods next year so the lucky owners can go on holiday ‘quickly and without any fuss.’ Fishes are cut open while they are still alive, and will die by asphyxiating on the deck or being burnt alive in salt baths. Circus animals that spend their lonely lives shut away in tiny cages are dragged from pillar to post to perform tricks. For every animal kept as a companion there are approximately thirty, possibly hidden, animals in the Dutch factory farming industry. Then there is the entire issue of laboratory animals. Pigs, chickens, cows, rabbits and goats in the factory farming industry, bred and shut away, abused and made sick for the cheapest price per kilo of flesh. Furbearing animals live miserable lives for useless luxury products.

Not one of these animals benefit from the legislative proposition put forth by the minister. This legislative proposition puts animal-based production first, not animal welfare. I told this fact to the minister in my hour-long contribution to the debate and tabled motions with suggestions on how to improve animal welfare.

Luckily we also had positive news this week. The Meat the Truth film by our scientific office, the Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation has been nominated for the Italian Cinemambiente film festival. I travelled to Turin for the festival and also held a lecture. I will tell you more about it next week.

In other great news – opinion polls that ask people how they would vote if elections for the Lower House were held today repeatedly allot us three seats. And this is during a campaign-free period. We currently have two seats in the Lower House. Increasing amounts of people feel a connection to our vision and that gives us even more energy to do more for animals, nature and the environment!

See you next week!