The awkward thing is, the government could have prevented this.


For more than twenty years Parliament has been engaged in mink breeders. Mink is mainly used for fur production, and public campaigns of the Bont voor Dieren action group (where Marianne Thieme worked for years) caused great damage to the reputation of the breeders from a point of view of animal welfare.

Thus it happened that in 1999 a majority of the Chamber expressed the wish to end mink breeding.” The second Kok Cabinet did not submit a bill to this effect until three years later, shortly before the 2002 elections.

After this, the discussion became part of a Dutch drama. Just before Pim Fortuyn was murdered, he spoke out against the mink ban, and Bont voor Dieren then took action against Fortuyn. Fortuyn's killer Volkert van der G. was also a big and fierce supporter of a mink ban. The first Cabinet-Balkenende, containing the LPF, symbolically adopted it for Fortuyn: the bill was withdrawn.

Then it took until 2006 for The Hague to discuss the matter again. PvdA and SP submitted an own-initiative proposal for a ban that was adopted in 2009, including with the support of the PVV. But again the judgment of the House of Representatives remained for three years. The Senate only reached a conclusion in 2012 and supported the bill under one condition: that mink farming in any case until 2024 (!) would continue to exist.

The breeders litigated for years to come, money was not a problem, but it did not help — and it seems that this sector will actually disappear by 2024, a quarter of a century after the Dutch Parliament expressed the wish.I know: business rarely goes the way it should, you don't do anything about it. But when you see this inability for 21 years, and you know that people are being infected by mink now, you think, maybe politicians shouldn't talk about the size of the government — and start with an exercise in humility.Tom-Jan Meeus ( t.meeus@nrc.nl ; @tomjanmeeus)

This is the 'normal' life of mink in the Dutch fur industry. #nertsenfokkerij