The Dutch government has to start working on animal welfare thanks to the Party for the Animals' motion
The Dutch Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten had forgotten about animals in her policy memorandum on a more sustainable form of agriculture, called circular agriculture. The Dutch Party for the Animals’ motion adopted will change this.
The government should set more specific conditions in its policy memorandum on circular agriculture for the way animals are kept in the livestock industry, and in addition, the perspective of animals and their species-specific behaviour should be the guiding principle. A majority of the Dutch Lower House supported Esther Ouwehand's motion, party chair of the Party for the Animals.
"Animals will still lead a miserable life if there are no animal welfare objectives in circular agriculture," according to Ouwehand. "Just look at the gigantic stable in Grubbenvorst (a village in the Netherlands). One million meat chicks of different ages are piled up in these six floor emission-free stables, with technical novelties such as air cleaners to prevent the emission of hazardous substances. Six weeks after their birth, the chickens are slaughtered in the on-site slaughterhouse. On top of that, 34,000 pigs will be added in the next few months. With its own manure fermenter on site, this stable is considered climate-friendly and it completely fits Minister Schouten’s circular vision. To make sure that animals are not forgotten, we have submitted this motion," according to Ouwehand.
Former governments already proposed to make the perspective of animals and their species-specific behaviour the guiding principle for the welfare of animals in the livestock industry by 2022 at the latest. With only three years to go, these objectives have by far not been reached. Ouwehand previously asked the Minister of Agriculture Schouten to respect this deadline of 2022, but did not see any plans until now to make this work.
Minister Schouten refused to take measures against the routine cutting of piglets tails in the past, which had already been banned in Europe for a long time. "Why did the Minister explicitly exclude animals from her circular vision?", Ouwehand wondered. "Why does she not take action and does she not use that mandate, and say that government commitments on animal welfare were already made, and confront the Lower House with the fact that those commitments were made? Why does she not argue: the deadline was set for 2022 and you can expect that this measure will be taken?"
As a result of the motion adopted, Minister Schouten will now have to better warrant animal welfare in agriculture.