Scientists have a future with the Flemish government?

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Dear Minister Schauvliege

“The Flemish Parliament wants to be the center of a democratic Flanders and closely involve the citizens in the political process. To this end, it strives for maximum transparency and communication. “These are the first lines of the mission statement of the Flemish Parliament. We would have liked an appeal to this maximum transparency and communication.

In early 2012, you announced the easing of fox hunting in the special hunting. In the accompanying press release you put different things. Firstly, that the special hunting the fox to include poultry had to prevent damage – which you imply that extra fox is capable. Second, you stated that this expansion of hunting has come after unanimous opinion of the Mina Council (Environment and Nature Council of Flanders). And last, that this measure does not proscription means for the fox. This press release has been the occasion for a group of young people and students from various (mostly scientific) directions, to delve into your policy on hunting the fox.

We could refute. In this letter in a scientific way all aspects of your policy on fox hunting That information may be found on our website, but that’s what it for us not so much. It is the argument that you follow – or rather ‘not’ uses – when designing your policy. Legitimate scientific findings are ignored without any argument. In addition, it seems very likely that a strategy is used in which these findings are deliberately concealed. This way with scientific research and scientists are treated as employees of the Flemish government is unacceptable to us.

Or the scientific findings which we refer are legitimate, of course, is impossible to imagine without thorough investigation. On our website you can the general public in easily readable texts read what science says about sense or nonsense of fox hunting, you too. These texts are in part based on general ecology, like many members of ROBIN who have seen their education in the Flemish Universities and Colleges. Besides some additional (international) sources, is the bulk of the scientific information of your own Flemish research institute – the Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO). You may use the legitimacy of any scientific source in question, but we think you will need this – to argue thoroughly -. As a politician That we are missing today in your policy.

We also suggest that the way to deal with scientists is unacceptable. This is not unfounded. In February 2011 a report was broadcast on the public channel ‘a’ with the title ‘Foxes Zones’. The Panorama program gave an overview of the various positions and proposed the scientific facts opposite. The authors of the report announced that a scientist of INBO not allowed to speak freely on the air. They also reported a full ban on speaking the Volt program (also on public television) in which organized a debate on hunting the fox. The same gag order was in force at a radio colleague and also a big debate organized by RSPB Vlaanderen and even in the Commission for Environment and Nature of the Flemish Parliament.

With the introduction of the special hunting was done one step further. Again scientific results show that this new policy can not be effective. And again we hear nothing of science institutions. Therefore we have chosen in our campaign for fox hunting as epitomizes scientific and political dishonesty. We believe there is strong evidence to believe that scientific findings are willfully ignored and even actively suppressed. When scientists carry no independent investigation or not speak freely about their own research, this is more for us a reason to be concerned about our future – our future as a scientist – as well as any employee of the Flemish government in any function.

We therefore propose the following questions explicitly and hope you will answer this as Minister of Environment and Nature and as a member of the Flemish Government:

- We still have a future with the Flemish government? Is there still a place for independent research?

- There is the silencing of scientists in terms of defending a policy?

Our educational asking these questions with us, as you can see on our website.

We get one hand like answered concretely, these questions but then we hope mainly to see. A practical proof With the current discussions surrounding the Hunt Opening Decision for the period 2013-2018 it seems the perfect opportunity to give a signal. We chose fox hunting as epitomizes this scientific and political dishonesty, so the abolition of the special hunting (and preferably even measures that go beyond that), would be a clear signal that you and the Flemish Government our question and sound science seriously take.

We hope to see you soon to expect a response.

Thanks in advance,

d3The students and youth of ROBIN, an association of young people and (science) students from various Flemish university towns, campaigning around political and scientific honesty

Category: Nieuws
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