779 views 3 commentslast update:6 Aug 2012

What a waste of taxpayer's money

Dick Ziggers
After the elections of November 22 in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, that small country squeezed in between German, Belgium and the North Sea, the political arena is 'enriched' with a new party; a "single-issue-party", named The Party for the Animals.

Again, we the ocean conquering nation, managed to make people laugh their heads off. The party received enough votes to occupy two seats in our 150-seat parliament. Supported by vegetarians and veganists the only issue in their campaign is to expel the bio-industry from the country. Bio-industry should not be confused with biological industry, however, bio-industry in the Netherlands is an expression used by animal activist to define intensive pig and poultry farming.

It can be questioned how the party received its funding, since the €15 membership (2,521 registered members in 2005) cannot be enough to run a national campaign. In the Netherlands many lotteries donate money to charity funds and also to animal welfare organisations. Members of the latter can easily move funding to a political institute. How ethical would that be?

The party’s leading lady Marianne Thieme campaigned in a clever way by making use of people’s ignorance of today’s modern animal farming. In an interview with our national daily agricultural newspaper she was asked that when we all have changed to organic and animal friendly production would other countries not take over intensive animal production? Her answer was that child labour also was expelled form the Netherlands, but that other countries still practice this. End of discussion, but the comparison is neither here nor there.

This Party for the Animals has no historical knowledge. Animals have never been treated so well than in present farming systems. Due to ignorance, consumers of milk, meat and eggs vote for what they think is ethical, but in the supermarket their opinion is dominated by their wallet when it comes to buying food. What if the party’s lunatic ideas spread to the rest of the world? A human being was not designed to eat vegetables only. How will we be able to feed world population? There are not enough resources to support everyone becoming vegetarians. In fact, this party advocates world hunger. It is a shame that we have to spend more than €200,000 a year of our tax money to fund their seats in parliament


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    Piet Looise

    I am not a member of the Animal Party in the Netherlands but I thought that except for fish may be animal products tend to occupy indirectly more agricultural land than products from plants. If animals would be fed on plant residues only animal products would be very efficient of course but that is not the case. A big part of the population on the Indian continent feeds itself well from plant production. I would not recommend them to change their habits because I think that their food economy is basically more efficient than the food economy of the Dutch.

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    sherryl broderick

    what?? raising meat for human consumption is more inefficient than humans consuming plant material. Your argument about world starvation is emotive sensationalist populist scare mongering - good way to loose all credibility. Also, there is a vast difference between what healthy adults 'need' and what they 'consumer'... most dont need the amount of meat they eat. Why not first seek to understand and then to be understood ... work together!! COOPERATE for a better future. That is what the Netherlands' approach to public policy and issue has meant to me ... I toured there in 2003 on an agricultural fellowship. My experience was that the Dutch have utilised their small patch of earth and are managing the intensity of population and agriculture. But you know there's always room for improvement. From an Australian perspective and pallet I was very conscious of the odours and the flavours ... and gave up eating intensively raised animals. It tasted 'dirty'. There is only so much waste the environment can assimilate ... the Netherlands has reached its capacity and now its time to innovate and improve.

    I wish your parliament a productive term of office.

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    A. Cazemier

    I agree, that a single issue party is a waste of politics. But still I think, seen the response to this party ( 1% of the votes included many prominent personalities in the Netherlands) we shoud take this seriously. Imagebuilding of animal production must be realised in the chain. It is not only a responsibilty of farmers, but also for feedproducers, slaughterhouses and retailers. Note that those who oppose the present farming practices are well to do people able to purchase "green" meat. Most people do not have a similar budget.

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