Organisation - May 12, 2011

'We are just an action group'

Who? Paul Struik, professor of Crop Physiology and signatory of a professorial petition against intensive livestock farming.
What? Spoke to Henk Bleker, the state secretary of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation, on 26 April, together with Roos Vonk and Henriëtte Prast.
Why? To resume the discussion which they started earlier on with Gerda Verburg.

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Was the meeting pleasant?
'Yes, the mood was pleasant. Mr. Bleker was open and interested.'

What has he been told?
'That the current set-up of the livestock farming industry creates problems for the environment and animal welfare. Our plea is that the government has to make its presence felt more strongly and not leave it to the market to solve these problems.'

Were you able to convince him?
'No. He feels that the key lies with consumers and citizens. We have therefore not achieved anything politically - of course, we are just an action group, like many others.'

Was it worth it then?
'Yes, certainly. A national debate will be held from 11 May to the end of June on mega barns and livestock farming. Bleker has invited us to present something at the kickoff. Although past national debates on nuclear energy and on food and genes had not achieved much, I am not pessimistic. The state secretary will consider the outcome seriously.'

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