Worldlog Week 07 – 2011

18 februari 2011

We've had some good news just before spring recess! The Lower House has accepted our motion for a nationwide moratorium on mega stall construction. This is an enormous breakthrough in the discussion to stop the transformation of the Dutch countryside and is the next step towards a definitive ban. On 2 March the people will be heard. The provincial council elections are a referendum on the mega stalls.

In addition to this motion, the Lower House has accepted a wealth of other animal-friendly motions from the Party for the Animals. And so the cabinet has set rules for breeding racing dogs and other animals and has created a plan of attack to accommodate pets in an emergency. From now on, accommodation systems for agricultural animals must also be tested for their effects on animal welfare before farmers can start using a new form of cattle raising. I'm especially pleased about this wonderful state of affairs. These accepted motions signal that despite the cabinet’s destructive policies, protection for animals, nature and the environment is on the increase.

On Thursday, the Lower House dealt with our private member's bill on unanaesthetised ritual slaughter. The private member's bill has been lodged because we believe that an end must come to the pain and stress an animal experiences when it is slaughtered without anaesthesia. In the Netherlands more than two million animals a year, chickens and sheep in particular, are slaughtered without anaesthetic. Scientific research has proved that not anaesthetising animals causes extreme pain, suffering and stress. Veterinarian associations in the Netherlands and Europe even say it causes 'unacceptable suffering'. Unanaesthetised slaughter has already been banned in Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Iceland and New Zealand. At the end of 2011, Turkey will also introduce mandatory anaesthetisation.

According to current legislation, unanaesthetised animal slaughter is forbidden, except when carried out by Jewish and Islamic butchers. We want to use the 'unanaesthetised ritual slaughter private member's bill' to remove this exception. The European Court of Human Rights has determined that forbidding unanaesthetised ritual slaughter does not contravene the right to freedom of religion. To be continued!

Good news for whales. Japanese whalers have put a stop to the hunt for the rest of the season. The whalers said they were too often disrupted by the pressure group Sea Shepherd. But a Greenpeace employee had indicated earlier that the whalers would return home earlier this year because their quotas had been met. Sea Shepherd immediately promised to stop all future whale hunts, which seems like a good idea to us! In the Netherlands we are fighting to have the Sea Shepherd sail under the Dutch flag.

Recent research by opinion poller Maurice de Hond shows that no party scores higher than ours when it comes to backbencher votes on all subjects. And that is quite remarkable for a radical party such as ours. Increasing numbers of people are sharing our ideals and only by clinging to this will we be able to attract an even larger share of the electorate. The most recent polls give us hope in this regard. Both Maurice de Hond and the Political Barometer give us three seats in the Lower House and the Synovate opinion poll says we have a chance of taking two Upper House seats.