Voorburgs Dagblad | D66: smaller livestock farming in the fight against animal diseases


Government party D66 wants an end to intensive livestock farming and a ban on the trade in wild animals. According to Member of Parliament Tjeerd de Groot, these measures are necessary to prevent zoonoses, diseases that can pass from animals to humans.

The coronavirus is such a pathogen that originally comes from animals, just like the bird flu virus and the bacteria that cause q fever. According to De Groot, the spread of such dangerous diseases is often the result of the way in which people treat animals.

“The Netherlands is a stamp where far too many chickens, pigs and goats are kept,” said De Groot. He previously argued for reducing livestock numbers to protect nature and the climate. But the way in which livestock is now kept also poses a risk to public health

According to De Groot, agriculture will have to become more sustainable. “For the current intensive livestock farming, a phase-out plan needs to be drawn up, just as we once closed the mines in Limburg in a social way.” He submits a proposal for this in the discussion of the agricultural budget for 2021.

D66 also wants to further restrict the trade in wild animals. The Ministry of Agriculture is already working on a restrictive list of mammals that can be kept in the Netherlands. If it is up to De Groot, there will also be amphibians, birds and reptiles.

Agricultural organization LTO calls D66’s plan “the umpteenth shot without proper substantiation”. The sector association cites an interview with professor Arjan Stegeman who says that intensive livestock farming is not responsible for the known pandemics and that they originate from wild animals. According to Stegeman, the prevention of pandemics is precisely one reason for the current intensive way of keeping livestock.

LTO therefore criticizes the plans for polarization and voting “which unfortunately seem to be part of the political debate”. The farmers’ organization believes that this does not help society and calls on continuing to engage in discussions “on the basis of honesty, nuance and trust”.

By: ANP | Photo: ANP


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