6,000 trees bought against new nature bill

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Over the past three days more than 6,000 people have bought a tree to protest against a new nature bill introduced by Deputy Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker, says the leader of the Animal Rights Party, Marianne Thieme.

On Thursday, Ms Thieme announced she wanted to plant 10,000 “protest trees” within a week. Speaking on the radio on Sunday, she said the plan was well on track to meet its target.

On the party’s website, people can buy a tree for five euros to protest against the new legislation. The radio programme, Ms Thieme said later, sparked huge interest, with people buying some 500 trees every 30 minutes. The party will announce in a few days where the trees are to be planted.

The bill introduced by the Christian Democrat politician has caused a storm of protest. Ms Thieme said Mr Bleker’s bill “completely destroy’s the country’s nature and once again declares all animals outlaws.” Other parties have also condemned the bill.

Former conservative VVD leader Ed Nijpels described the law as a “dark page” in Dutch history. The bill severely cuts financial support to protect natural spaces and aims to decentralise their management. “There is absolutely no need to cut the government’s nature budget by 72 percent when 20 percent is the target in all other government areas”, said Mr Nijpels, who also served as environment minister. “Mr Bleker is a horse owner and all he cares about are his ponies and their pastures,” he added. 

Labour has also slammed the bill, calling for nature policy to be removed from the agriculture department headed by Mr Bleker and transferred to the infrastructure and environment ministry. Environmental groups have also condemned the bill.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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