The Netherlands, 26 February 2005

 

Dear sister and fellow smallholders,

In the past years we, smallholders in Holland, and you, smallholders in the UK, Germany and Denmark, have been confronted with animal diseases and the devastating consequences of government policy in fighting these diseases.

We all remember the horrifying footage of burning piles of dead animals in the UK and of the merciless cranes dumping animals into containers at farms in the Netherlands, during the FMD-crisis (in both countries).
We also remember what we all said back then: ‘Never again’.
But only two years later the Netherlands were struck again, this time by Avian Influenza. And all the drastic measures were issued again, with the same horrifying scenes as a result. People were appalled and even resisted the officials fiercely in their butcher’s work.

Now, to prevent future horror scenario’s and change future policy, smallholders and people keeping chickens, ducks, goats and/or sheep in the backyard just for fun, have united into a Dutch association to try to clear the way for a different policy.

At the last EU-conference, on ‘The Material and Immaterial Costs of Animal Disease Control’, in Brussels on 15 and 16 December 2004, this association, the Dutch Association of Smallholders, has tried very hard to make its point heard. The various country representatives did listen, but as yet our plea has remained without any outcome. We greatly missed support from associations from other countries. They just weren’t there.

In one year’s time, the presidency of the EU will be with the UK. By that time we aim to have teamed up with organisations similar to our own in other EU countries, especially in the UK, considering their special interest and possible extra leverage due to the upcoming presidency.
Together we can make a far greater impact in Brussels. For one, they will no longer be able to discard our issue as being just a Dutch problem.
To give you a more substantiated idea of what we stand for, I send you herewith the brochure (flyer) and poster (affiche) we made for the conference in Brussels, mentioned here above. I have enclosed a copy of the press release and the questions we asked the conference panel at the same Brussels’ Conference, as well.

 


If, by any chance, you should know of more organisations that might be interested in our cause than the ones I have written to now, please spread the word about us and/or let us know about them, so we will be able to create as wide a support as we can get.

I hope to receive your, positive, reaction at your earliest convenience.


On behalf of the Dutch Association of Smallholders (Nederlandse Belangenvereniging van Hobbydierhouders),
Yours sincerely,

 

Christine Bijl-van der Made
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www.hobbydierhouder.nl

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