Worldlog Week 42 – 2008

17 oktober 2008

Elections for the Netherlands’ district water boards will be held from 13 through 25 November. The district water boards have existed for centuries and, along with the provinces and municipalities, form part of the governmental structure of the Netherlands. District water boards arose because of the major role “water” played in the everyday lives of the people living in the region now known as the Netherlands. Building homes and farming requires land, and to create this land, the water had to be pushed back. So dikes were built and ditches and canals were dug. This work meant communities had to cooperate and so the district water boards were born.

The Party for the Animals will be contesting these elections for the first time and has been – according to the press – putting out a message very different from that of the other parties. We are dedicated to a safe and pleasant environment where people live with respect for each other, animals, nature and their surroundings. Pumping stations that are not harmful to fish, cleaner water (less phosphate and pesticides), an end to the cruel and expensive muskrat hunt (the muskrat allegedly threaten the dikes) and a halt to animal sports such as angling are some of our policy spearheads.

Heading the candidates for the Rijnland Polder Board, Dick de Vos has a stuffed muskrat mascot named Jessica that he takes everywhere. A smart way to ensure animals get their fair share of attention during debates and interviews.

Minister Verburg of Agriculture informed the Lower House that the number of animal transport-related offences doubled this year compared to the same period in 2007. Partly thanks to our insistence , the minister has instructed the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, the agency tasked with supervising animal transports, to increase the number of checks. I find it typical that so many offences should be reported. Studies have shown that these offences are inherent in the animal transport sector. Following the publication of these studies, enraged letters from animal transporters claimed that all was well in the sector and invited interested parties to come and look for themselves. This is the result…
Simply shameful. Surely time for tough measures! But no! The minister still believes that the sector can get its own house in order and recently endorsed a monitoring system developed by the sector itself. The minister also coolly told the Lower House that she currently had no plans to publicize the findings of the monitoring activities, despite a parliamentary majority having requested this in a motion. Incomprehensible!

This week we received a lot of e-mails about the destruction of dogs on the Greek island of Rhodos. The organisation Dierenhulp zonder Grenzen (animal assistance without borders) has begun a protest campaign. As a Dutch political party, there’s a lot we can do, but I would like to ask everyone to send a protest e-mail via the site Dierenhulp zonder Grenzen. Click here.

Until next week!