Animal welfare regulations
Anyone keeping animals is responsible for the animals' health and welfare. This holds true for pets, farm animals, test animals or animals in zoos. Owners have to comply with certain rules regarding housing, care and transport. Cruelty to animals is a punishable offence. The rules are laid down in the Animals Act and the decree regarding keepers of animals. People are prohibited to inflict unnecessary harm on wildlife animals as well.
Recently, the Dolphinarium in Harderwijk came under fire in the Dutch television programme Rambam. A journalist went undercover. The conclusion of the programme was that the sea mammal park is a circus rather than a zoo. However, at the request of the House State Secretary Van Dam said that there is no reason to revoke the Dolphinarium's permit.
Other complaints about animal welfare are also frequently in the news. About animals in markets, for instance, which are there for too long and with too little food and water. Or about livestock haulage under poor conditions. On behalf of the authorities the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) checks whether businesses keeping animals comply with the rules. Several MPs are of the opinion that the NVWA should intensify its inspections.
Stranded sperm whales
Early this year, five sperm whales washed up on the beach of the isle of Texel. Despite rescue operations carried out by Ecomare, SOS Dolphin and the acting mayor of Texel all five sperm whales died. During the meeting on 28 April the House looked back at the stranding. State Secretary Van Dam of Economic Affairs referred to the protocol drafted by the Government a couple of years ago. This protocol describes who must do what if a whale washes up. The protocol also says that a rescue operation is useless once a whale has been lying on the beach for more than twelve hours.