Wednesday 15 July 2020

Bison and wildcats can be kept as pets by the Dutch … for now

A European wildcat at a zoo in Germany. Photo: Aconcagua via Wikimedia Commons

Junior economic affairs minister Martijn van Dam has postponed implementing an official list of animals allowed to be kept as pets in the Netherlands for six months, the NRC reported on Friday.

The list, compiled under the auspices of Wageningen University, had been criticised by the Platform Verantwoord Huisdierenbezit (Platform for responsible pet keeping) which deemed it ‘unscientific’ and ‘insufficiently transparent’, an evaluation which was backed by the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal, the paper says.

The platform considered the list biased because animal rights group Dierenbescherming and Stichting Aap, an organisation for the protection of exotic animals, were involved in drawing it up.

In the Netherlands some 267 types of mammal are currently kept as pets. The new list rules out 153 different species, which can only be kept under very strict conditions and subject to constant monitoring.

The list includes large animals such as bison, brown bears and kangaroos, but also covers smaller mammals such as wildcats, meerkats and small possums known as a sugar gliders.

The six months grace period will be used to revise the list and put it on a firmer scientific footing, without the input of the animal protection organisations. The ministry will also recruit the help of international experts.

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