Worldlog Week 22 – 2011

3 juni 2011

The news about the E.coli outbreak has everyone’s attention in the Netherlands. This antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been discovered on cucumbers in Germany. Hundreds of people in Germany have fallen ill and several have died as a result of this very dangerous bacteria. Dutch cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes have been tested and these are not contaminated. Nevertheless, many Dutch people feel uneasy and are not buying cucumbers. This week I submitted parliamentary questions regarding the communication from the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment which states that the E.coli bacteria always originates from cattle manure. Via animal manure, the E.coli bacteria can also find its way onto vegetables and into ground water. Unfortunately, this government (still) prefers to think differently. It is odd that people who are nervous about becoming resistant to antibiotics avoid cucumbers but eat chicken…

This week the senate adopted a motion from senator Niko Koffeman to include a concrete assessment framework for the intrinsic value of animals in the new Animals Act! On 17 May 2011 the senate passed this law which is to replace several older animal welfare laws in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the law is primarily an ‘animal products law’: empty, ambiguous and not an animal welfare law at all. In the Animals Act, the government only wants the intrinsic value of animals to be recognised with respect to the accommodation and care of animals that are kept. But the intrinsic value means the value of an animal “independent of its usefulness for mankind”. It is impossible for someone that recognises the intrinsic value of an animal to raise that animal in factory farm conditions, transport it over long distances under abominable circumstances or to end the life of an animal simply because people like the taste of its flesh.

This week saw the publication of pictures, taken by animal rights activists, that show how Australian cattle are brutally mistreated in abattoirs in Indonesia. Protests in Australia have been loud and the transport of animals to Indonesia has been stopped completely. And the images of Indonesian abattoirs have not only shocked Australians. Also people here in the Netherlands have told me that they found the images extremely shocking. I myself was almost moved to tears. Abattoirs should be obliged to have online cameras installed! This is what Paul McCartney said about it earlier:

Finally: on Tuesday 31 May, the film Sea the Truth by the scientific office of the Party for the Animals was shown in the European Parliament in Brussels. European Member of Parliament Kriton Arsenis and the animal rights organisation Eurogroup for Animals had informed us that they wished to show the film in the parliament. Karen Soeters, director of the scientific office, was invited to lead the evening and to give a presentation on Sea the Truth. Good news: the showing was well attended and that means many Euro-parliamentarians and a great many other interested parties are aware of what’s going on in the oceans and seas. Hopefully, the European parliamentarians will do their part to restore our seas and oceans.

Until next week!