Worldlog Week 44 – 2008

1 נובמבר 2008

It’s been an eventful week. A newly published report confirms the findings of other alarming reports, including those from the World Food Organization, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the World Wildlife Fund, Profetas and many others regarding the environmentally damaging meat and fish industry. This new report, that the Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (space, environment, housing, neighbourhoods and integration) drew up at the request of the Party for the Animals, describes the need to consume fewer animal products if we are to counter the dramatic consequences of the climate, the environment, animal welfare, world food distribution and biodiversity.

The news about this report comes at the same time as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report stating that the Netherlands is living ‘on credit’ in terms of excessive use of raw materials at the expense of (poor) people, animals, nature and the environment. The report contains shocking facts on the depletion of natural resources by the Netherlands at the expense of others. For example, the Netherlands follows China as the world’s largest importer of soy for cattle feed. The cultivation of soybeans results in the felling of millions of acres of tropical rain forest each year. And the Netherlands takes seventh place in the world meat-consumption rankings with an average 86 kilos of meat per person annually. The production of meat places huge pressure of the available arable land, the water supply and biodiversity. According to the WWF, the Dutch live as though they have two whole planets at their disposal. On the same day we submitted parliamentary questions to the ministers asking the government what measures they intend on taking to reduce the disastrous consequences of our consumption.

It is great to see that the documentary Meat the Truth by our Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation is still being well received.

Unfortunately, the news was less good for wild animals in the circus. The Groningen law court ruled that legislation governing the admission to the country of circuses with wild animals must apply nationally. The law court made this ruling after the Renz Circus lodged an objection to the decision taken by the municipality of Winschoten not to grant any more licenses to circuses using animals.

More and more municipalities are indicating an unwillingness to admit circuses with animals. Now that the court has decided that only the national government has the authority to institute bans against such circuses, local municipalities have been rendered toothless. The statement of the law court means that local authorities may not pursue policy that goes beyond the Animal Health and Welfare Act. The section
of this act for formulating rules on events with animals has – even after sixteen years – not yet been effectively fleshed out. The Party for the Animals has asked Minister Verburg to finally step up to this particular challenge.

Until next week!