Science - March 2, 2006

‘No gnomes in Wageningen’

The research project Bioveem is being carried out according to scientific principles. This is the official response of the President of the Executive Board Aalt Dijkhuizen to the article with the headline ‘For gnomes, call Wageningen’, which appeared in the national newspaper de Volkskrant on Saturday 25 February.

The article described the Bioveem research project, in which the Animal Sciences Group is involved, and ridiculed the more airy-fairy aspects. One of the people working on the research project on organic farms is energetic advisor Jan Jorink. According to the article, he helps farmers who ask him to get rid of aardmannetjes, goblins who live underground. ‘They are not always too happy if a shed is built above their house. I then ask them politely if they would mind leaving. To do this I call on angels as intermediaries, who come and collect the goblins,’ Jorink was quoted in de Volkskrant.

Dr Ina Pinxterhuis, the Bioveem project leader was not available for comment. She has agreed with the Department of Communication that she will not make any more announcements about her research until the results are published, which should be later this year.

In a press release entitled ‘No gnomes in Wageningen’ Aalt Dijkhuizen makes it clear that the author of the article unjustly creates the impression that the research project is not scientific. ‘One of the questions from livestock farmers relates to whether or not the energy balance on a farm is relevant. Wageningen UR was requested to examine this by carrying out a scientific experiment. If there are significant differences between the returns of livestock farmers who engage in what are regarded by some as ‘woolly’ practices and the returns of more farmers that use more conventional methods, this could be a reason to conduct further research on the causes underlying these differences.’ / KV

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