Worldlog week 8 – 2014

17 februari 2014

Marius, the killed giraffe from the Zoo in Denmark justifiably exercises many Dutch minds. My colleague Esther Ouwehand asked Parliamentary questions about the Dutch situation. We think that there should be a discussion on the ethical acceptability of breeding animals in the Zoo and then killing the young ones. Zoos are commercial institutions that want to have young animals every year to attract more public.

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In Germany and England it is forbidden to kill healthy animals. Unfortunately, that is not yet the case in the Netherlands (or Denmark). That must change soon. We are not in favour of keeping wild animals in Zoos any way. Exhibiting animals is something that belongs to the past. There are many possibilities to learn something about nature. To impart knowledge on the animal kingdom to children and adults, it would be better to bring the children into Dutch nature to discover wild animals. The message is now that it is okay to keep wild animals in captivity. Sign the petition here to close the Zoo in Denmark!

Last week, I had a debate about privacy. Privacy is safety. Every time we give up privacy, we give up part of our safety.

The government has promised to formulate a vision on the gathering, keeping and selling of big datasets, so-called ‘Big data’, by companies and (healthcare) institutions. Medical data is highly privacy sensitive and if the data becomes public it might discourage people from visiting a doctor. The Minister of Economic Affairs also promised that the government will pay extra attention to protecting children. Children are often invited to play games on smartphones and tablets, but then have to give access to privacy sensitive data. We think that exchanging privacy sensitive information for apps should not be allowed!

It seemed such a noble and generous initiative – last week a conference was held on the hunting of threatened species. Prince Charles and Prince William took the lead and many nature protection organisations joined them. Indeed, there is no time to lose because the tigers, elephants, rhinoceros and many other endangered animals are in a bad way.

But how reliable are those Princes when it comes to their own hunting hobby? A few days prior to the conference, Prince William went to Spain to hunt for deer and wild pigs at the Duke of Westminster’s hunting grounds, while it is generally known that the Spanish allow ways of hunting that are now prohibited in many European countries, such as hunting with spears from horses and drive hunting.

And Prince Charles has already let us know that if the English government should decide to ban fox hunting, he might leave the country to ski for the rest of his life instead of becoming the King. Our own King Willem Alexander is also a fervent hunter at home and abroad.

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If the members of the Royal families really want to use their influence to guard animals from becoming extinct, they first have to make a generous gesture themselves: stop killing animals just for fun, also if they are not (yet) threatened.

Last Friday was Valentine’s Day. This was part of it: