27 January 2005
NBvH: Veerman (Minister of Agriculture) is accountable for the loss of biodiversity
Agriculture must withdraw the Ram-Regulation (breeding programme)

The Nederlandse Belangenvereniging van Hobbydierhouders (NBvH) wants the Department of Agriculture to withdraw the Ram-Regulation for sheep-breeders. This is the NBvH-reaction to an article in Agrarisch Dagblad (agricultural newspaper) of 26 January ‘05, where scrapie-expert Stanley Prusiner crucifies the Dutch breeding programme.
This ram-regulation, in force since November 2004, obliges sheep holders with more than 10 ewes to use only so-called ARR-ARR-rams. These rams and their offspring are supposed not to be sensitive to scrapie. Prusiner doubts this and even last year he had advised the Dutch Ministry to cancel the breeding programme. The programme would give only an apparent security.
Even before, the NBvH has insisted on canceling the scrapie-programme, because the one-sided selection on one particular genotype has various undesired effects on biodiversity. Continuing the programme will lead to weakening breeds, states the NBvH. The Ministry met the NBvH somewhat last year by allowing holders of less than 10 ewes exemption from the programme.
Like Prusiner the NBvH thinks the entire programme should be cancelled. And she stated that Parliament should call the Minister to account for the fact that he never followed Prusiner’s advice. Because of that, healthy breeding animals have been killed needlessly and precious genetic variation was lost for ever.