Worldlog 20 June 2016
Last week there was a special meeting at the Lower House with Ric O’Barry. He was the trainer of one of the most well-known dolphins: Flipper. In the 60s, O’Barry captured and trained five dolphins from the wild to be used for the popular television series. But because of his contact with these social and intelligent animals his opinion changed. He is now a committed animal activist. You might know him from his documentary The Cove. With his organisation, Dolphin Project, he is fighting to free dolphins from captivity and to close dolphinariums all over the world.
O’Barry visited the Lower House to talk about the Dolphinarium in the Netherlands. During his visit he called upon the Netherlands to close the Dolphinarium. He said that dolphinariums are like a circus, which are bad for animal welfare and give children the wrong idea. They are taught that it is acceptable to keep animals in captivity and to control them. Additionally, they live in a concrete tank in which they cannot perform their natural behaviour, such as travelling for many kilometres and communicating by sonar. It was very special to have Ric O’Barry at the Lower House and I am delighted to support his call to close the Dutch Dolphinarium.
Frank Wassenberg (PvdD), Ric O’Barry and Marianne Thieme (PvdD) at the Lower House
The European Commission has announced that it intends to change the VAT Directive. Currently, it is only allowed to use high and low rates, not zero rates. It is also exactly prescribed which products the low rate may or may not be applied to. As a result, it is currently no longer possible to exempt healthy products, such as (organic) vegetables and fruit from VAT. But since the VAT Directive is to be changed, I think it is now the perfect opportunity to fight for a greener and more flexible VAT Directive. We should lower taxes on healthy products. As a matter of fact, we also levy higher tax on alcohol and tobacco to limit the use of them.
In the Chinese city of Yulin, the Dog Meat Festival is held every year to celebrate the longest day of the year. The dogs are abused and cruelly slaughtered for consumption. Apparently, most of those dogs are stolen pet dogs or stray dogs. Fortunately, animal activism in China is growing and increasingly more Chinese people want to put a stop to the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. You can read more here about the fight of the Chinese animal activists against the Festival.
Victor Hugo once said: “It’s sad to think that nature speaks and mankind will not listen”. And this article proves it again.