Worldlog Week 03 – 2012

16 January 2012

Many happy returns for the New Year! We are going to do everything we can this year too to help the Netherlands become more animal-friendly. New Year's Eve fireworks causes a lot of stress for animals as well as many injuries. Moreover, fireworks contain heavy metals and highly poisonous materials that seriously poison the soil, air and water. The damage amounts annually to a minimum of 500 million Euros. Once New Year's Eve is over, the Netherlands has to clean up 3 million kilos of rubbish!

It therefore does not surprise us that the Party for the Animals' proposals to ban lighting private fireworks is receiving so much support. A survey has shown that a two thirds majority of the Dutch population agrees that fireworks should only be lit in one place in professionally organised firework shows. This way everyone can enjoy beautiful fireworks without inflicting huge damage on people, animals and the environment.

Good news from Weeze airport in Germany. It is going to install solar panels which will provide no fewer than 3,300 households with electricity. If Schiphol airport were to follow this example, we could easily solve the problem goose population with resorting to cruel measures. Dealing with the problem goose population in the Netherlands is take an animal-unfriendly turn because the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA), People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), The Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and D66 embraced at the end of 2011 a culling plan by the so-called 'Geese 7'. This agreement between agricultural and nature organisations sets out that mass gassing and shooting can form part of goose management strategy.

I asked for a postponement to this measure as it is also in conflict with European regulations. However, we unfortunately could not reach a majority. We believe that preventative measures are more suited to increasing airport security. We therefore argue for a ban on growing food crops around Schiphol airport, as they are very attractive to geese, and going for solar panels instead of grass fields around the airport.

There's worse news for battery hens. The Netherlands has proved to be among the 14 most animal-unfriendly countries in Europe as we have failed to do sufficient work in getting rid of battery cages after 1 January, as Europe has regulated. The EU is preparing law cases against those in breach. It was announced 12 years ago that battery cages will be banned in Europe starting 1 January 2012. Poultry farmers have had the opportunity all this time to adjust their business to the new standards, but despite that, some countries still want a postponement. State Secretary Bleker also planned to argue for a six month extension. Under the Party for the Animals and The Dutch Labour Party (PvdA)'s leadership, the chamber blew the whistle on Mr Bleker. This meant Mr Bleker had to then turn his back to the proposal. Despite this, every country in Europe has received a six month postponement.

The Party for the Animals has asked the Dutch government to do everything they can to arrange a quick release for Erwin Vermeulen, a Dutch volunteer on Sea Shepherd who was arrested at the end of last year in Japan. Vermeulen was in Japan to record images of the horrific dolphin culls in the coastal town of Taji. Each year, thousands of dolphins are violently driven into a bay where dolphin trainers the world over pay a lot of money to come and pick the best specimens for their dolphinariums. The remaining dolphins are slaughtered in the most gruesome way.

Vermeulen was arrested without having any charges laid against him. The Party for the Animal is worried that Vermeulen will not receive a fair trial. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal however dismissed these concerns during question time. We are displeased with the Dutch government's attitude and have asked supplemental parliamentary questions. We have more on this to follow.

See you next week!