New animal rights law passed in the Netherlands

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As part of the law which stipulates that animals exhibit natural behavior as much as possible, farm animals cannot be kept in groups. Cattle and piglets will not be separated from their mothers soon after birth.

The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture and animal producers argue that the new law could put an end to animal husbandry. The ministry wants Parliament to clarify the issue of “natural animal behavior”.

The Party for the Protection of Animals (PvdD), which has 6 members in the 150-seat House of Representatives and 3 members in the 75-seat Senate, convinced parliament on the new animal rights law.

The speech of PvdD MP Léonie Vestering to the General Assembly of Parliament in April had an influence on the adoption of the new law.

“All ducks swim in the water, but every year more than 8 million ducks on poultry farms in the Netherlands do not have bathing water. The chicks who cannot swim and have everything they need. weight on their webbed legs after a while drop and die because their bodies are made to swim, ”Vestering said.


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After this speech, 89 out of 150 MPs voted to amend the existing animal rights law to include more freedom. The Dutch Senate also approved the law, which is expected to enter into force on January 1, 2023.

By law, duck farms will now have swimming pools. Ponytails cannot be cut. Cattle pigs and calves will not be separated from their mothers soon after birth.

Calves and goats cannot be dehorned. Rabbits will live in places where they can dig the ground rather than in cages. Pigs will spend time in mud instead of confined spaces.

Under the new law, barns, pens and poultry farms will be redeveloped and large numbers of animals will not be allowed to stay in the same indoor environment.

The law states that animals should have as much natural freedom of movement as possible. This applies not only to farm animals, but also to pets. For example, birds and rabbits will not be allowed to be kept in cages.

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The Animal Welfare Party believes that with the new law a better life can be offered to animals in accordance with court rulings.

Lawmakers opposed to the law argue that the majority said “yes” without knowing what they were voting for. Some lawmakers even believe this law could end the feeding of cats and dogs in homes.

The strongly Protestant Community Reform Party (SGP) maintains that with the new law, dogs cannot be kept on a leash.

Its government partner, the Christian Democratic Party (CDA), argues that it is sometimes in the best interests of animals to limit the natural behavior of animals. “Should we walk the dogs on a leash or give them the freedom to eat the neighbor’s cat,” CDA MP Derk Boswijk told the AD newspaper. said.

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Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party, the liberal right-wing VVD, also believes the law is unenforceable and imposes serious obligations on owners of farms and pets.

Animal Party leader Esther Ouwehand wants the agriculture ministry to immediately prepare a law enforcement plan.

It is reported that the Ministry of Agriculture will ask parliament in the new legislative year to clarify the issue of “natural behavior of animals” and determine a method to apply the law in a way that does not affect the agriculture and domestic animals.

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