Worldlog Week 43 – 2008

24 אוקטובר 2008

Well done the Italian government! They presented a proposal last week to set up a national health services for dogs and cats meaning pets are no longer dependent on their owner’s incomes. People below a certain income threshold can take their pets to the vet for free, including for vaccinations, spaying and neutering. It’s a wonderful idea that, according to reports, is expected to get widespread support from Italian politicians. We asked the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Ms Verburg, if she would start following this good example right away.

Earlier we asked for support for the Rotterdam initiative Minimax, a programme where people earning minimum wage can obtain medical care for their pets at a reduced rate and now many cities in the Netherlands are working on a local version of this clinic. The demand for these facilities is huge and it is high time the government gave its support.

In last week's copy of agricultural magazine “het Agrarisch Dagblad”, Minister for the Environment Jacqueline Cramer admits she can see the good in our party’s proposal to reduce the consumption of animal proteins. An excerpt from the article: /”The damage to the environment caused by the agrarian sector could be handled in different, more radical ways. Friends of the Earth Netherlands recently argued to reduce cattle stocks by half – the organisation soon found however that the cabinet was not on their side. I think Marianne Thieme’s solution has more chance of success. In her documentary “Meat the Truth" she showed that eating less meat is the most effective solution to the climate problem; a conclusion shared by many scientists around the world to varying degrees. “

The discussion about castrating piglets without anaesthetic and the pressure to stop the practice has intensified the past two years, thanks in part to the Party for the Animals, and as led to supermarkets no longer selling products from pigs that have been castrated without anaesthetic as of 2009. Companies that deal in pig meat will castrate their pigs under anaesthetic as long as there is no alternative to stopping the meat from stinking while it is being cooked. Aldi, Lidl, Coop, La Place, Keurslagers and Super de Boer are the first to stop selling the meat entirely. The German slaughterhouse Tonnies delivers a great deal of meat to Dutch supermarkets and they admit they can trace this “bear smell”, as it’s called, back to the individual slaughterhouse. The Dutch supermarket chain CBL is angry at the Dutch slaughterhouse VION (the largest slaughterhouse in Europe) because VION have always claimed they still needed years to be able to detect this bear smell on the line. CBL wants an explanation from VION, and rightly so. I have asked the minister to find a solution as quickly as possible to these shady dealings at VION.
It doesn’t really surprise me that VION has taken this stance with stinking meat. The meat industry has been reacting this way for years whenever they are faced with a real turnaround. Pig farmer Annechien ten Have from the Land and Horticulture Organisation recently railed against supermarkets that decided to stop selling meat from castrated pigs. Thinking only in impossibilities in this sector is obviously a very difficult phenomenon to eradicate.

See you next week!