Invitation to Minister Stagoire: Hurry up with the Animal Welfare Act

The Regenerative Animals Act should come into force in 2023. This has been adopted by Chambers I and II and therefore has significant social support. However, we are now halfway through 2022 and discussions are still ongoing about who might contribute to the drafting of a charter. So animals don’t seem to get better in 2023. In addition to being unethical, this is also a massive missed opportunity for people, animals, and the planet, according to 23 organizations, including the Demeter Foundation. On behalf of these organizations, Caring Farmers is asking Minister Staghouwer in the appeal below to urgently expedite and raise the bar high.

Tail clipping, mass production, old cocks, lack of outside air, barn fires, culling… For decades, public anger over intensive livestock farming has swirled, and the government has promised improvements. As early as 2002, D66 Minister Brinkhorst said that “chickens should be able to forage, root for pigs and graze cows”. Unfortunately, much remains the same, the farm keeps getting bigger, prices have fallen, more and more farmers have disappeared, and animal life is still worth nothing.

So we were thrilled when the House and Senate Rejuvenating Animals Act was passed in 2020. As of 2023, animals should not be adapted to the barn, but the environment should be at the service of the animal.

In 2022 from law to covenant
Now, May 2022, improvement is still a long way off. why? Because the Cabinet has chosen not to implement the Renewable Animals Act, but to formulate a “favorable animal husbandry” where all the old Mana parties threaten to come to the negotiating table. Our great fear is that established parties will be slowed down by talking weighty about “food security”, “work to 2050” and that “pig tails are important to prevent worse suffering”. We fear that the economic interests of the current system will once again win the interest of the animal.

Animal welfare as an opportunity
Not only would it be morally irresponsible, but it would also be a missed opportunity. The Animal Affairs Council recently developed a definition of animal husbandry for the ministry. As far as we are concerned, this can still be improved, because, for example, no consideration has been given to meaning or reproduction, but it is clear that animals should keep their tails and horns and should be allowed to run free. This would mean a massive change, but it would also have enormous positive consequences. Because more space for each animal means far fewer animals in our small country. The current livestock of 600 million slaughtered each year suffer from disease outbreaks and harm the climate, nature, biodiversity, animal and human health. This does not make anyone happy, not even the farmer. Deflation is necessary to deal with these problems.

wider era
So the covenant of animal husbandry should not be left to standard farmers’ parties. The question is whether there should be many farmers at the table at all. Because what it’s really about isn’t just a change in livestock where animals can feed, it’s a shift in our entire diet. It means a different consumer diet, different legislation, different supermarket policy, no more imports of non-animal-friendly meat, and more arable farmers and vegetable growers. And if we do it right, it provides not only a better life for animals, but a healthier diet and a solution to climate and nitrogen problems. So a better life for ourselves.

Who should participate?
Who do you put on the table? Peasant organizations that have been on the brakes for decades? Or do you put experts in animal welfare, infectious disease, legislation, retail, health, diet and farm use who already do a large farmer by definition of “animal friendly livestock” – biodynamic and 3 best star-of-life farms – as an example And a source of information? The latter makes more sense because the interests are very large and very broad. And let’s ask the animals themselves, too. They are the most important stakeholders and new knowledge in linguistics about their way of communicating allows us to ask them more and more about their needs.

Urgent question
So an animal husbandry convention should provide clear regulations and a different market that requires locally produced, animal-friendly food, which the farmer then follows with a little help. After all, farmers have been saying for decades that they would like to relocate if the market changes.

Our question to the entire Cabinet is to go ahead with it this time. Not to 1 star Peter Leven but straight to 3, or even 4 or 5! Of course this is a formidable challenge and most farmers find it intimidating. But it also provides the farmer with an opportunity to break out of the cycle of more for less and return to the farm again. The opportunity to work with more farmers on smaller farms with fewer animals to do everything that moves a farmer and that community values: taking care of animals, nature, and producing fair and healthy food. Go ahead in full force and work with the right parties to make the transition to animal husbandry!

The letter was signed by the Animal Alliance (17 organizations), the Animal Workers Union, the Federation of Agro-Ecological Farmers, the Demeter Foundation, Compassion in World Farming Netherlands, and Caring Vets and Caring Farmers.

Source: Demeter Foundation and Farmers Welfare

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