Minister acts on violent animal rights groups

Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst is looking into ways of protecting drug companies from violent animal rights groups, report various newspapers on Friday.

One of her proposals is to invite animal rights organisations to sign a covenant in which they reject the use of violence, the papers say.
But this has been dismissed as political posturing by Christian Democrat MP Haersma Buma.
The groups that carry out violent attacks are not going to come and sign an agreement with the government, he said in a radio interview on Friday. ‘We need to tackle the radical underground groups,’ he said.
Research by NOS tv reveals that a large section of the pharmaceutical industry is permanently threatened by animal rights activists. The financial institutions involved with medical research are also the target for violence, the media say.
In the past five years, the Dutch animal rights organisation Dierenbevrijdingsfront (similar to Britain’s radical Animal Liberation Front) has claimed over 40 incidents including night-time visits to the homes of pharmaceutical company staff, damaging cars belonging to workers and arson.
A spokesman for the pharmaceutical industry Nefarma told the media that some employees live in permanent fear as a result.
The animal rights party Partij voor de Dieren won two of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament in the last elections.

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