Amsterdam tightens rules around events involving animals

Sinterklaas arrives in Amsterdam-Osdorp on a camel, 18 Nov 2017
Sinterklaas arrives in Amsterdam-Osdorp on a camel, 18 Nov 2017. (Photo: @CasperLi2010 / Twitter)

The Amsterdam college of mayor and aldermen wants to introduce a permit requirement and stricter rules for all events in the city involving animals. In this way the city wants to keep track on events in which animals are used, as well as make sure that they are properly cared for.

"Over the past year we researched how often animals are used in events and I was shocked", responsible alderman Laurens Ivens said in a press statement. "A camel at a [Sinterklaas] entry, a reindeer and a cow with her calf for commercials, owls and birds of prey at fairs. If animals are used for entertainment, that can not be allowed without the welfare having to comply with any rules. With this permit requirement, we gain insight into the number of events in which animals are used and it is also possible to check whether the animals are well cared for. I am convinced that an event will only be more fun if the well-being of animals is not in danger."

The issue of animals being used in events was brought to the city's attention in June last year, when a camel was marched through the busy Red Light District as part of a bachelor's party. The municipality of Amsterdam sent letters to all businesses renting camels in the city, informing them that making the animals walk through the busy city is contrary to animal welfare

Amsterdam would prefer to ban the use of animals at events, but that is impossible under current national legislation. Ivens brought this matter to the attention of Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety. In the meantime, the city hopes that the permit requirement will raise the threshold for the use of animals in this way.

The city council still has to approve this measure. This is expected to happen before the summer.