THE HAGUE, 05/05/07 - Leeuwarden appeal court has sentenced a vet, J.
Plantema, to pay damages of 200,000 euros to animal rights group
WakkerDier. He called them terrorists. It is unique for abuse of
freedom of speech to lead to such a high fine.
Plantema is a poultry vet. In an interview with agricultural journal
Agrarisch Dagblad last June, he described WakkerDier as "a bunch of
terrorists" who do not shrink from murder, arson, vandalism and
intimidation in order to improve the welfare of chickens. He also put
the interview on his own website.
In October 2006, Zwolle district court ruled that the statements were
slanderous. The vet was ordered to correct the article and take it off
his site. Every day that he failed to do so would cost him 5,000
euros, up to a maximum of 200,000 euros. The entire fine has now been
imposed - even though Plantema did make a correction.
The lawyers of the animal rights' foundation successfully argued that
Plantema complied insufficiently with the Zwolle court verdict.
Although the vet did indeed make a correction, he did not meet all the
technical details. Thus, the correction should have been on his
website to read at a glance, but visitors first had to scroll down to