The Dutch Parliament has passed a motion to remove endangered crows, jackdaws, foxes, wood pigeons, and rabbits from the national exemption list that allowed them to be hunted. The Netherlands has a national exemption list which includes species that are free to be hunted in whichever amount if there is a minimum of one plot of land that has been “damaged” in the nearby area. These animals include rabbits, foxes, wood pigeons, jackdaws, Canadian geese, and crows. This new motion is asking the Government to remove some of these animals from this list, which should make it more difficult to hunt them.
The MP Eva Akerboom, from the Party for the Animals, presented the motion. The motion states, “Noting that the Nature Conservation Act states that animals whose survival is threatened or at risk may not be hunted; Noting that the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State concludes that the applicable national exemption for the wood pigeon, carrion crow, jackdaw, rabbit and fox is not sufficiently substantiated to meet the requirements of the Nature Conservation Act; Considering that the current national exemption list should therefore no longer apply to the species included therein that are threatened by their survival; Requests the government to immediately remove those species whose survival is threatened from the national exemption list”
Even though the motion was passed, it will still be possible to hunt some of the threatened species through other exemptions. For instance, rabbits (who are classed as an endangered species in the Netherlands) could still be hunted if the hunters apply for an exemption for hunting them for different reasons, even if they are taken off the national exemption list, but at least this extra bureaucratic step may reduce the occasions where they are hunted.
Aysis Plet, an anti-hunt campaigner from the Duch organisation Animal Rights, said to Vegan FTA, “This development brings us one step closer to banning hunting in our country. Even though the hunting lobby puts a lot of effort into spreading its propaganda, we are counting on justice to prevail. They feel the heat.”
In another positive step, Christianne van der Wal-Zeggelink, the Dutch Minister of Nature and Nitrogen Policy, closed the hunting of rabbits and hares last year for the recreational hunting season. Since then, rabbits cannot be hunted in the whole country, and hares cannot be hunted in three different provinces (Groningen, Utrecht and Limburg) because of the current state of the populations of both species. The hunters sued the government for that decision, but the government, together with the organisations Animal Rights and Fauna4Life, won the case on 11th October 2023 — so, these bans will continue.