Dutch group pursuing a pet project

Seeks 50,000 signatures for public access animal channel

AMSTERDAM -- Dutch animal lovers on Tuesday launched a national campaign to establish a public TV channel for animals and their owners.

Under the name of Piep!, the group intends to collect 50,000 signatures of support, the number needed to gain access to the public TV network in the Netherlands.

Piep! plans to schedule programs directed to its animal audience. In addition to programs that animals can enjoy, Piep! also wants to broadcast documentaries, youth programs and news shows covering the life and rights of animals.

Karen Soeters, a communications manager from Amsterdam who initiated the plan, estimates that there are about 3 million cats, 2 million dogs and 1 million rabbits that form part of Dutch households.

Furthermore, since the last election, a party led by animal-activists -- the so-called Partij voor de Dieren -- has two seats in the Dutch parliament.

"Listening to animals can be very inspiring for human beings. They do not cause credit crisis, do not overeat and take care of their environment," Soeters said.