Esther’s Blog: Worldwide attention for nature and animal rights
Our movement for animal rights is growing internationally and the press is increasingly noticing it. Recently, for example, I was interviewed by Italian journalist Sabrina Giannini from the RAI3 television channel, who is making an investigative journalism program. It was about animal welfare in the Netherlands, Italy, and Europe and the international growth of our movement. The interview will be broadcast on January 6. In Italy, our sister party Partito Animalista Italiano is working on political change for the animals and our planet.
Speaking of political change: our British sister party Animal Welfare Party is taking part in the British national elections with six candidates on 12 December! They have to deal with an unjust electoral system, but they have proved earlier this year in local elections that they can also overcome that system. With enough support from all planet and animal protectors, they can make a strong voice on 12 December for better protection of everything that is vulnerable.
A few weeks ago I was able to talk to Earthling Ed here in the Netherlands about our consumption behavior, awareness about everything we do to animals, and how we can turn the tide. Nobody wants to hurt animals, but sometimes it is difficult to reconcile your own values with your own (consumption) behavior. Animal activists like Earthling Ed are masterful at helping people with that. Great to hear him speak about how, with the help of open conversations, he lets people come to their own conclusions about how we treat animals. There were also 80 angry farmers who tried to disrupt our meeting with an illegal protest action. Not successful, of course.
And because I was there together with Ed and Ed himself comes from the United Kingdom, we of course immediately recorded a message for all British voters together:
In my previous blog I already spoke about our fight against destructive trade agreements. In the beginning of November we held a hearing in the Dutch House of Representatives on the harmful effects of the CETA treaty on the environment, nature, farmers, and animal welfare. In December, the Lower House will vote on this trade agreement with Canada. Exciting!
We are also continuing the fight against other treaties that make it more difficult to realize an animal, human, and environmentally friendly society. The Dutch Minister of Commerce says that she has major climate ambitions and wants to protect human rights, but the trade agreements that she agrees with often go directly against those ambitions. For example, the Netherlands wants to continue the TTIP agreement with the United States, even though it's withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. Absurd: we aren't going to open our borders for polluting products from countries that do nothing for the climate, are we?
The same applies to treaties that facilitate human rights violations, such as the Mercosur treaty: with that treaty with a number of South American countries, the European Union (EU), among other things, gives the Brazilian president Bolsonaro a market for agricultural products that are the result of intimidation, violence, and murder.
The Party for the Animals also calls for a total ban on the import of horse meat into the EU. We are concerned about the terrible way horses are treated in South America and Canada. Since 2012, official EU investigations and animal welfare organizations have repeatedly demonstrated that there is animal abuse and also food safety risks. It is unacceptable for the EU to continue to import horse meat.
On the initiative of the Party for the Animals, a large part of the Dutch House of Representatives has also turned against a free trade agreement with Thailand. If the European Commission and Thailand reach an agreement, the European borders will be opened wide for Thai chicken. Thailand is already the largest exporter of chicken meat to the European Union. It is unimaginable that the Netherlands wants to move to sustainable, circular agriculture, but in the meantime is completely opens its borders for extremely cheap Thai chicken.
Fortunately we are increasingly successful against unsustainable investments. For example, the Netherlands now massive subsidizes biomass, which means, among other things, that felling and burning forests in coal and biomass plants is supported with tax money. Thanks to our successful motions this month, we have taken another important step towards stopping all subsidies for wood-fired biomass. Not only is the forest area in the Netherlands declining rapidly, but abroad we are also causing major natural damage through these subsidies. We need forests alive to tackle the climate crisis.
Finally, great news from New York: there will be a ban on the sale of foie gras, thanks in part to the efforts of our colleagues from Voters for Animal Rights, whom I met last year.
The (political) fight for animal rights is being fought all over the world and increasingly being won!
Until next time.