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Protection for Venray mayor after threats from ARAs
Police protection for Venray mayor and alderman after threats from animal rights activists
The mayor and an alderman in the southern Dutch town of Venray have been placed under police protection, after threats of violence by animal rights activists.
Dutch Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst says the Dutch domestic intelligence service is assessing the threats and will keep the Venray town council informed.
The activists claimed a major victory after a property developer decided to pull out of the construction of a new industrial park near the town of Venray in the south of the Netherlands.
Over the Christmas period, members of the radical Animal Liberation Front (DBF) visited the homes of a number of the development company's directors, confronting them and spraying their homes with slogans such as:
"Stop Sciencelink, Stop Animal Testing", and the more threatening "This time it's just paint. Next time we won't be so friendly. See you in the new year".
The company, Van der Looy Project Management, pulled out of the development, saying the opposition has become "threatening and unacceptable".
Given in to threats
"If other developers show any interest in taking Van de Looy's place, then we can tell them now that we will be on their doorsteps not just once, but time and again."
The radicalisation of animal rights activists in the Netherlands is of increasing concern to the Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, which released a report on the movement's activities last year.
"Home visits" were named in the report as one of the most common tactics. Activists with balaclavas or scarves covering their faces descend on the homes of employees of companies involved directly or indirectly with animal testing. They damage cars, daub slogans on the houses and threaten family members.
As far as Respect For Animals is concerned, vandalism and intimidation are justified if aimed at relieving the suffering of animals. The limit, says Kroos, is that "no-one is killed and no-one is injured".