Double success for van Velzen in national parliament

1 November 2005

Double success for van Velzen in national parliament

The lower house of the Dutch national parliament today supported a motion from SP Member Krista van Velzen calling for an enquiry into the effects of supermarket price wars on farmers' incomes. Earlier, Ms van Velzen asked Minister for Economic Affairs Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst and Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman to establish such an enquiry, but neither was prepared to accept her proposal. However, a clear parliamentary majority is now insisting that action be taken. This was not, moreover, the Socialist Party MP's only success of today's sitting: she also gained support for her demand that the Netherlands oppose what amounts to a licence for French producers of foie gras to mistreat animals.

Krista van VelzenExplaining the issues behind the first of her resolutions, Krista van Velzen said, “Farmers have to manage on ever-decreasing profit margins and there are growing signs that because of this the quality of farm production is coming under more and more pressure. This pressure is effecting not only farmers' incomes but also the welfare of their animals as well as environmental interests. Findings published just this morning show that the share of organic products available to shoppers is falling as a result of the supermarket price wars. These price wars are not only ruining small retailers but squeezing out farmers as well. We need to get a good picture of the consequences of this so that policy-makers can no longer ignore them.”

Ms van Velzen's second success came when parliament supported her motion to demand that the government do all in its power at European level to oppose the extremely cruel production of foie gras. "Geese are force fed through a funnel under horrifying conditions. France is currently trying to have this production recognised as an aspect of cultural and historical heritage, in order to gain a seal of approval for this kind of ill-treatment of animals. I am pleased that we have taken a stand against this.”

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