- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2002

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands Volkert Van der Graaf, the man charged with the Netherlands' first political assassination in modern times, had no problem with victim Pim Fortuyn's stance against immigration.
Instead, he was apparently enraged by Mr. Fortuyn's fondness for fur coats.
Mr. Fortuyn, who sought to become the Netherlands' first openly homosexual prime minister, had not only campaigned on restricting the number of immigrants, reducing crime, cutting bureaucracy, but also on one small subject most would tend to overlook.
He wanted to lift restrictions on fur-farming, and he died in hail of bullets on May 6.
Mr. Van der Graaf, 32, continued to sit in jail last week as immigrant-weary Dutch voters gave Mr. Fortuyn's party 26 seats in the 150-member parliament, second only to the center-right Christian Democrats, which won 43 seats.
Mr. Van der Graaf hated anyone who ate animals, raised livestock, used animals in laboratory experiments or those who wanted to raise them for pelts to make fur coats.
When police arrested him shortly after Mr. Fortuyn's murder, they found animal rights leaflets and computer files on animal rights and ammunition matching that used to kill Mr. Fortuyn.
Neither Mr. Van der Graaf's family nor police are talking about the case.
Much of what is known about him comes from a single column he wrote two years ago on a Web site devoted to animal rights, animalfreedom.org.
In the column, Mr. Van der Graaf explained what turned him into an animal rights activist and a strict vegetarian.
"I used to fish with my brother who was two years older. I used to get a kick out of catching fish. My brother put the worms on the hook. It just wasn't right, but apparently everyone thought it was normal."
From those first compassions for worms on hooks, Mr. Van der Graaf wrote that a "sense of justice" arose in him during his high school years that poor treatment of animals "shouldn't be happening in a civilized country."
He went on to work in a bird shelter near the coast when he was 15.
He quit the shelter in a huff because they used mouse traps to kill mice that ate bird food. "I didn't want to be inconsistent any longer," he wrote.
As a student at the University in Wageningen, he gave up eating meat. Not wanting to be inconsistent, he became a vegan a strict vegetarian who refuses to eat eggs, dairy and other animal products or use animal products such as leather or fur.

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