The Dutch House of Representatives has passed a motion to ban the import of calves into the country. Tabled by the PvdD, the country’s left-leaning animal welfare party, this non-binding motion was meant to influence government policy, as there has been a sudden spike in live calf imports from Ireland.
On 11th July 2023, the French association L214, Irish Ethical Farming Ireland, and Dutch Eyes on Animals, three European animal protection NGOs, complained to the European Commission about the transport of very young calves from Ireland to the Netherlands via France without food for long hours. After separating them from their mothers, the calves are loaded into cars in Ireland, which are then boarded on ferries to France, where they hit the road again to the Netherlands where they will be fattened and then killed for human consumption.
The Netherlands has been rocked by the militant agrarian movement that emerged after the government’s attempts to impose nitrate quotas on farmers culminated in victory for the populist BBB party during the March elections. The motion was proposed by departing PvdD MP Leonie Vestering and received support from the centrist Dutch caretaker coalition.
On November 22nd there will be national elections in the country, and the polls indicate a surprisingly strong support from Green and Left parties led by former EU Commissioner and architect of the EU’s Green New Deal, Frans Timmermans, against a challenge from populists and right-wing groups. Meat-eating is on the political agenda as a joint green-left coalition led by Timmermans proposed a 75% reduction in farmed animal numbers as part of their electoral platform to reduce climate change emissions. In 2022, the Dutch Department for Agriculture considered new tax incentives for reducing meat consumption.