Parliament opposes "meat tax"

13th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

13 December 2007, THE HAGUE – The proposal from Friends of the Earth the Netherlands of a tax on meat in order to reduce the intensity and environmental impact of livestock farming in the Netherlands does not have the support of a majority in Parliament.

13 December 2007

THE HAGUE – The proposal from Friends of the Earth the Netherlands of a tax on meat in order to reduce the intensity and environmental impact of livestock farming in the Netherlands does not have the support of a majority in Parliament.

This emerged on Thursday during the last discussion of a citizens' initiative to this effect from Friends of the Earth. Christian democrat CDA, Liberal VVD, ChristenUnie, fundamental Christian SGP and Freedom Party PVV do not think the proposals from the organisation are feasible.

Labour PvdA and Socialist SP indicated they were unable to approve the entire package of proposals. "We say yes to parts of it, but we cannot embrace all the proposals. The tax on meat is such a crucial part and we do not want farmers to once again become dependent on state support," the PvdA said. The SP also rejected the meat tax.

"That's unfortunate, our plan was just a little rough around the edges," said Wouter van Eck of Friends of the Earth. He was glad that the debate took place however. "The concerns of many people were heard, but there is still a long way to go."

He said that not all the parties are yet prepared for this turnaround, which includes halving the livestock population and imposing a tax on meat that has not been produced in a sustainable manner. Especially the CDA has been hesitant, says Van Eck. "In doing so it is placing itself outside the social reality. It seems as if they want to continue to play deaf."

Ger Koopmans (CDA) says the proposals are not necessary and says that it would drive down farmers' income and force them to depend on state support. "This would not improve things for farmers or the environment," he concluded. Agricultural organisation LTO pointed out earlier that the proposals would reduce the added value of the sector from EUR 4.7 to EUR 2.2 billion and at least 15,000 jobs would be lost.

Koopmans does think that farmers could adopt more sustainable practices. "There is still a long way to go, but I trust that the sector knows that too and is taking on the challenges."  Coalition parties PvdA, CDA and CU and opposition parties VVD and SGP see the citizens' initiative as a call from society for measures to guarantee animal welfare and the quality of the environment. "But it does not offer the solutions needed."

The animals rights party PvdD, green-left GroenLinks and democrats D66 all supported the proposal.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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