The European ban on American meat produced using natural growth hormones, is likely to be broken. Scientists have concluded that this type of meat is not dangerous to human health. The United States is now asking the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to declare that the embargo is in defiance of free trade regulations. Dutch organisations are now making a joint effort to put forward other arguments for the ban - the hormones may endanger the cattle's health and European consumers would not eat the meat.
WAU's degree course Agricultural Systems Science is in trouble. The programme started in 1988, with the aim of training forty to fifty students a year in logistics and agricultural systems analysis. In the past three years only eleven, thirteen and eight freshmen respectively have started the course, and the Board is discussing the possibility of abolishing the programme. Programme director Professor P. van Beek wants to rescue the course by changing the useless arbitrary name to Logistics and decreasing the number of special subjects offered. One argument in his favour is that all graduating students find work easily.
Ecco van Ierland, chair of Environmental Economics at WAU, claims that the Dutch government has a no regrets policy and is making little effort to combat the greenhouse effect. Holland should decrease carbon dioxide emissions by sixty to eighty percent, says Van Ierland, by using sustainable energy sources and storing CO2 in natural gas deposits. He wants to develop a system by which one country subsidises a decrease in CO2 emissions in another country, in order to optimize environmental costs in both countries.
WAU's University Council has revised the Board's budget plan for education. The programmes Plant Sciences, Biology, and Soil, Water and Atmosphere, which faced severe cutbacks in the Board's first draft, now receive more money, but still have to decrease the number of courses they offer. As a result, the MSc programme Soil and Water has to negotiate with Dutch programmes in order to deliver more joint courses for both Dutch and foreign students.