The department of Animal Husbandry at WAU has been studying free-range pigs for two years now, in order to develop animal-friendly housing. If farmers keep pigs in groups, the animals are often sick or harm each other. No wonder, says researcher Francine de Jonge, Communal housing will never be a success if the pigs are reared under intensive conditions."
Sicco Mansholt, former Dutch Minister of Agriculture from 1945 to 1958, and architect of the European agricultural policy over the past forty years, died last week. Arie Oskam, Professor of Agricultural Policy, gives an appreciation of Mansholt's strong views, determination, courage and vision. He was one of the few Dutch socialists who was acceptable to the farmers." During recent years, Mansholt had concluded that the protection of farmers in the EU should be lifted, to give Eastern-European farmers a chance to enter the market. He also was one of the first agricultural politicians who accepted the views of the Club of Rome.
While others just look at the world, you can change it... The world is waiting for you, join the Earthcorps." With this slogan the glossy paper of the non-profit organisation Earthwatch tries to recruit volunteers who want to do environmental research, and pay for it! It seems to be working: 37,000 donors have contributed about fifty million guilders and are supporting 165 projects. Are the scientific results from these volunteers reliable? Compare it to a car accident. You don't wait for a surgeon; a first aid volunteer is most welcome."
Six mentally disabled persons lend a helping hand the WAU department which manages the greenhouses and experimental fields. They help the university with small jobs which the department otherwise would not have been able to carry out. And the disabled persons themselves gain more independence in a tough society, their supervisor says.
The social fabric of the Fulbe, nomadic pastoralists in Mali, is disintegrating and becoming impoverished according to anthropologists Miriam van Bruijn (University of Utrecht) and Han van Dijk (University of Wageningen). These developments, which go largely unnoticed in the western press and literature, are due to shortsighted development aid, political developments and increasing environmental precariousness. The two anthropologists plant to return to Mali to carry out further research on the eco-refugees. Miriam van Dijk: Survival in the Sahel is only possible through flexible interplay between animal husbandry and cultivation, accompanied by free access to land." Donors and technical assistance providers should familiarize themselves with the results of social research before going on with development projects.