Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 10 June 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.More than five million piglets die prematurely at factory farms
Many dailies reflect the growing concern for animal welfare by writing about a report released by the animal welfare organisation Varkens in Nood (Pigs in Distress).
De Volkskrant writes that in the overwhelmingly industrial breeding stables and factory farms over five million pigs die before they are ready to be butchered.
According to Leon Varitimos of Pigs in Distress, the artificial increase in the number of piglets born per litter plays a role in the increasing number of piglets who die at birth.
“A wild boar gives birth to five piglets. The sows in factory farms have been bred to such an extent that they now give birth to 30 piglets per year, with the sector aiming for another 10 more. The sows already have too little milk to feed their piglets.”
Trouw says that out of over 30 million piglets born annually “two million are stillborn and three million die in the first month”.
Figures released by Rendec, a firm which specialises in transporting and destroying animal cadavers, show that the number of pigs who die prematurely has risen from 4.8 million in 2003 to 5.05 million in 2007.
AD writes in addition to the dead piglets, 500,000 pigs and 60,000 piglets die prematurely.
In a commentary, AD’s editor-in-chief Jan Bonjer writes the Netherlands has a flourishing bio-industry and that the large number of deaths among piglets is a ‘by-product’.
“The answer can be found in a person’s ethics. It is a choice between filling one’s sandwich bag with a ham sandwich or a vegetarian filling.”
The Netherlands is the first country where a Party for the Animals has been elected to parliament.
Smart card boosts fare dodging
De Telegraaf reports “Fare dodging is booming with public transport smart card”.
The paper says transport companies are reporting an enormous increase in fare dodging in buses, trams and some trains. Some confidential memos even speak of “large-scale fraud”.
De Telegraaf writes this is remarkable since the main purpose of introducing the public transport smart card – known as the OV Card - in the first place was to prevent fare dodging.
Police want to introduce ‘preventive’ breathalysers
De Volkskrant writes police chiefs are lobbying for the introduction of preventative breathalysing in order to “prevent excessive drinking amongst youth”.
At present only drivers can be compelled to take a breathalyser test.
The council of police chiefs said: “Now we can only wait before we can take measures and then the situation escalates. A pro-active attitude would prevent a lot of trouble and a preventive breathalyser would be a big help.”
MPs conscious of their image
Trouw writes it has long been known that voters are less likely to vote for a politician who hides his or her face, which perhaps explains why there are so many short-sighted politicians in The Hague who listen to their PR advisers and wear light-framed glasses.
However, of the 150 MPs whose photographs appear on the parliamentary web-site, only 54 are wearing glasses. In reality, many more wear glasses but the MPs’ vanity tends to obscure reality.
Trouw writes about the “eyeglasses incident” in 2006, when MP Gonny van Oudenallen continuously complained about a minister who was not there to answer her questions. He was present, but she just could not see him because she did not want to wear glasses.
Former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers also had similar problems. During parliamentary debates, he refused to wear glasses and instead would hold papers a few centimetres from his face.
Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica