Esther’s Blog: Solving the climate and nature crisis starts with being honest

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The Party for the Animals has grown once again in the Netherlands! The results of the regional elections in March have made our party bigger than ever. More and more people these days are voting for politicians who will not shrug off and trivialise the nature and climate crises, but intend to tackle them seriously to ensure a healthy future for all of us. More and more people are raising their voices for a better life and more rights for the millions of animals with which we share our country. And more and more people are voting to liberate animals from our lamentable livestock industry. That fills us with hope!

We know there is no choice but to tackle the climate crisis right now, to fundamentally protect nature and help farmers switch to a healthier agricultural system. Rest assured that together with all those people who have voted in favour of nature, animals and a healthy future – and that includes farmers and people who live in rural areas – we will continue to fight for this. As I said in my previous blog: standing together, we can make the dark green difference!

Esther casts her ballot on election day.

Dare to be honest
I was recently asked on national radio what I would do to solve the crises if I were prime minister. I would start by opening people’s eyes to the suffering of animals in factory farms, I replied. By telling them about how those millions of poor animals are forced to spend their entire lives in sheds, without daylight or fresh air, inhaling their own manure fumes. By telling them how sick this makes them: pneumonia, open wounds, growths, broken bones, and worse. And don’t think they receive treatment or care for that! No medication to ease their pain, only constant suffering until they succumb – or are carted off to the slaughterhouse after that miserable life. Or burnt alive in a barn fire. Last week, this happened to yet another 9,000 pigs in the Netherlands. That’s 9,000 intelligent beings lost!

The Netherlands is the cattle shed of Europe. Up to 600 million animals are bred and killed here every year. In a country with a livestock industry on this scale, the fact that our nature is being destroyed is hardly surprising. Or that the unfathomable quantities of manure produced by this industry – 5,000 truckloads a day – are causing gigantic damage to nature and our climate. This manure is acidifying our soil, and polluting our groundwater. Moreover, the accompanying toxic ammonia fumes are a health hazard to our population.

In the meantime, Dutch farmers have also become victims of this system. The number of livestock farmers in the Netherlands has been cut in half since the beginning of this century. Ultimately, most the profit from this industry ends up in the pockets of only a small number of big agribusinesses – many of whose owners are among the wealthiest people in the Netherlands!

Nobody with a heart could possibly be in favour of a dead-end farming system like this. Simply stating the facts and telling everyone what is being done to our animals would be enough to gain support for abolishing the livestock industry – and, in doing so, solving the nature crisis and a good part of the climate crisis along with it.

Change the system

Team Party for the Animals joins international action against octopus farms.

It is our democratic duty to change this system now and, by doing so, protect the future of younger generations. We remain committed to this, together with our sister parties. Just like our Spanish sister party PACMA, which is doing all it can to prevent the establishment of a gigantic octopus farm in Spain. Last month, the Dutch parliament embraced the proposal put forward by the Party for the Animals stating that the Netherlands should actively oppose the opening of an intensive octopus farm in Europe.

You too can make a stand by speaking out against animal suffering like this on social media and by signing the petition against octopus farms.

Another step towards changing the system: the Party for the Animals is launching an initiative to have rights for nature included in the Constitution of the Netherlands! By giving nature itself fundamental rights, we aim to put an end to its destruction. After all, nature is the very foundation of our existence, and should justly be cherished and given fundamental legal protection.

And here’s even more good news to conclude my blog: the alderperson representing the Party for the Animals in the Municipality of Groningen has managed to get a ban on hunting passed! This means that no more animals may be shot on land owned by the municipality.

Our alderperson said the following about this: “We consider the culling of wildlife to be cruel. As we see animals as fellow inhabitants of our planet, we want to treat them with consideration.” Well spoken!

Cheers, and until next month!

Esther Ouwehand
Political Leader of the Dutch Party for the Animals