News Index > Sortable News 10/06 - now > May 2007
Vet Fined for Calling ARAs "Terrorists"

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 read it.

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