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Move to ban animal porn

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The Dutch Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin is considering the best way to ban animal pornography. It's currently legal here in the Netherlands, as is sex with animals and a way to ban both is now being sought.

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Experts say that because of the lax rules, the Netherlands is the biggest distributor of this sort of pornographic material in the world. It's a market which has grown massively since the arrival of the internet and parliament now wants to bring an end to this dubious practice.

Agenda
The Party for the Animals has become a political force in the Netherlands since the last election and is putting animal rights high on the political agenda. Party leader Marianne Thieme is insistent that animals shouldn't be sexually abused and exploited for commercial gain: "Like child porn, animal porn is a disturbed human behaviour that we must not tolerate because it's causing suffering for animals and we have to protect them."

No one knows for sure on what scale animal pornography is produced here, but it's in little doubt that the Netherlands is the world's biggest player when it comes to distributing this sort of material.

Campaigning
Labour Party MP Harm Evert Waalkens has long campaigned to get a ban on sex with animals and animal pornography.

"There are some estimates that 65 percent [of the] trade of these animal porno sites are created in the Netherlands - in that way we are a top country in this perversity."Recent newspaper articles in the Netherlands show that as well as hosting a majority of these websites - between 50 and 70 percent according to various estimates - DVD distribution is also largely in Dutch hands.
 
An inventory of 1500 such films carried out by the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper showed 80 percent were distributed by Dutch companies.

Money being made
Big markets for the films and the websites are the US and Germany, according to researchers. Harm Evert Waalkens says as long as it isn't banned and there's money to be made - then production and distribution will continue.

"It is not illegal in the Netherlands and countries surrounding us are taking steps to make it illegal so we are some steps behind." "We have good entrepreneurs who are taking these opportunities, but these are opportunities on the dark side of society and we don't want this anymore."

Marianne Thieme says her research in this field has left her shocked as to the extent of the problem here. 

"If you search on Google then you find only in the Dutch language almost 20,000 hits - it's a big commercial activity and most of this animal porn is made by Dutch people."Currently sex with animals is only banned in the Netherlands if the animal is physically harmed. Animal rights organisations say this is difficult to prove and allows producers of animal pornography free reign to do what they want. But now, following years of lobbying, the justice minister is to draw up an outright ban in the coming months. Not surprisingly the distributors themselves are against this, after all it's an industry worth millions each year.

Crazy
One anonymous representative from an animal porn distribution company told a Dutch TV news show:

"This is crazy - so much else happens in the world,  the question is why do people want to ban this - it's just hypocrisy."However, it's unlikely the practice will continue as everyone in parliament is in favour of the ban, and the minister overseeing it has already expressed his personal disgust at the industry.

According to Harm Evert Waalkens, the ban is long overdue - he says it finally brings the law into line with what the vast majority of Dutch people think.

 

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This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011 Dutch government’s decided to cut funding and shift RNW in 2013 from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW’s current activities can be found at http://www.rnw.org/about-rnw