Netherlands to crack down on animal rights extremism

[] The Netherlands will set up a special police unit
to address radical actions against individuals and companies by animal
rights activists, the Home Affairs Ministry said.

The special team, which also
includes members from the public prosecution department and the Dutch
intelligence service, will try to prevent dangerous intimidation
practices by extreme animal rights organizations, Home Affairs Minister
Guusje ter Horst was quoted by local newspaper De Telegraaf as saying

The decision followed repeated attacks on company or individual properties in the Netherlands by animal rights activists.

The latest one occurred early
Saturday morning when two cars of a top executive of NYSE Euronext
Amsterdam stock exchange, which were parked in front of his home in the
western Dutch town of Wassenaar, were set on fire.

The shares of Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British animal testing center, are traded on Euronext.

Although no one has claimed
responsibility for the attack, a similar attack last month on a former
senior executive of Euronext in the central Dutch town of Hilversum was
claimed by an animal rights group.

In March, several houses of
Euronext executives were covered with graffiti after British animal
activists published their personal details on websites. The website
called on visitors to send unwanted e-mails to the executives every

The violence used by activists is
"very dangerous" and "an unacceptable form of intimidation directed at
people who are simply doing their job," Ter Horst told Dutch TV
broadcaster NOS on Sunday. "We must come down hard on it," she said.

The new Dutch team is modeled on a similar British force combating animal rights extremism.

In reaction to Saturday’s attack, a
spokesman for the Dutch animal rights group Respect for Animals said
such sort of attack is acceptable.

"We think the fact that animals are used in pointless experiments is worse. Cars do not have feelings," he said.