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Letters to the Editor: Dutch leading the way in animal welfare

June 19th, 2021 3:10 PM

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EDITOR –New animal welfare legislation passed by the Dutch Senate could signal a sea change in animal welfare legislation across the EU. The Dutch move comes at an interesting time: the EU is on the verge of passing End-The-Cage-Age legislation, a significant event in farm animal welfare which could see all farmed animals out of cages by 2027.

  The new Dutch law was initiated by the pro-animal Partij voor de Dieren and will come into effect in 2023. It stipulates that animals must no longer suffer pain or discomfort when kept in cages or stables, and must be able to display natural behaviour.

Displaying natural behaviour will almost certainly mean that piglets or calves cannot be removed from their mothers before they are weaned. The new law could also prohibit owners from keeping a rabbit in a hutch or a bird in a cage because these are social animals. The legislation may eventually put an end to intensive livestock farming in the Netherlands.

In contrast, the Irish Government’s Animal Welfare Strategy, published earlier this year, is a million miles from what they are doing in the Netherlands.

While the introduction to the strategy reads like an animal rights charter, the strategy itself falls depressingly short of meaningful progress towards a more enlightened approach to animal welfare. Anyone standing inside a pig or a poultry shed as I have done will understand that raising animals in these conditions is the antithesis of good animal welfare.

The campaign to end factory farming is growing every day. A more enlightened approach to how we raise our farmed animals is taking hold, based on the widespread acceptance that animals are sentient beings like us. The Irish government is one of the best at talking the animal welfare talk, but it has to be one of the worst when it comes to taking any meaningful action.

Gerry Boland,

Keadue,

Co Roscommon

Will we stand idly by?

EDITOR –  The US president says that Israel has the right to defend itself against the Palestinians. But who is going to defend Palestinian families against armed Israeli settlers and the Israeli supporting army?

A total of 15 Jerusalemite families and 37 households of around 195 Palestinians, residing in Karm Al-Ja’ouni area in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and Batn Al-Hawa neighbourhood in Silwan, are currently at imminent risk of forced eviction.

The families have been persecuted for years in attempts by Israeli settler organisations, backed by the Israeli courts system, to evict these families and install illegal settlers in their homes.

These Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah families have been resisting attempts to evict them for years.

A member of one of the families, Mohammed El Kurd, spoke movingly of their plight recently.

‘November 2009. My friend Ahmad and I, both 11, were riding our bikes home from school when I saw furniture scattered across the length of our street in Sheikh Jarrah, a politically-charged neighbourhood of occupied Jerusalem.

‘The street overflowed with soldiers. My neighbours were screaming and protesting. As I approached my home, I couldn’t tell who was shoving me or in what direction. Then I saw the police horses — simultaneously terrifying and ridiculous — blocking my doorway.

Settlers had invaded our home and taken over half of it. They claimed the front part and left us the rest. Now, more than a decade later, they’re coming to finish what they started.’

So, will the Free Western world continue to stand idly by and condone this barbaric ethnic displacement of Palestinians and the denial of their human rights at the hands of Israel, the occupying power?

Daniel Teegan,

Monkstown

Housing needs a survey

EDITOR – Do we know the real extent of the housing problem in Co Cork or indeed West Cork? How many people are homeless?

How many people are priced out of the housing market but paying more than for a mortgage in rent?

How many adults are living with their parents not through choice?

How many houses are holiday homes or second homes?

How many of these lie empty for half the year?

It seems that we need to survey, assimilate and then take a clear look at these figures as facts and lobby our government for radical reform in our vision for housing our people.

Surely a home for all, a sense of community and belonging is the goal, not facilitating the owning of two homes for some, with houses left empty for half the year while others face homelessness and extortionate rents and no future hope of a home of their own.

Elizabeth A Ewing,

Drinagh

Get together to paint dear old Skibbereen

EDITOR – Words like ’dowdy’ and ‘tired’ are words I’ve heard from some visitors about Skibbereen.

But we can do something about it. Yes, it’s a ‘we’ project.

What an advert: ‘We painted a town!’

Weekends of volunteers (the ‘we’) to scrap and paint.

Tidy Towns people cannot be expected to do a job alone that belongs to all of us!

Let’s make ourselves proud.

Lorelie Rabbitt-Tomko,

Skibbereen

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