Worldlog Week 19 – 2010

14 Μαΐου 2010

A confirmation of something we naturally already knew: the Party for the Animals is an enormous influence on other parties in parliament. The fact we ensure that animal welfare and agriculture take a higher position on the political agenda has been proved by research performed by the University of Leiden. The previous cabinet had 17% of all motions and amendments that involved agriculture and nature during the budget negotiations. In the period from 2003-2006, this was just 3%.

Scientists Simon Otjes and Tom Louwerse have investigated existing parties' reactions to the presence of new parties in parliament. The research revealed that ever since 2006, when the Party for the Animals arrived in the Lower House, there has been in enormous increase in concern for agriculture and animal welfare in parliament. The Party for the Animals' influence on other parties appears to be so big, that we fear without the pressure we supply, the other parties would quickly return to their usual humanocentric thinking!

The Mexican Citizen's Commission called "Citizens in Defense of La Pastora have also called in our help to stop the construction of a football stadium in the middle of Pastora, a precious nature reserve in Nuevo Leon in Mexico. FEMSA, a large soft drink and beer producer, which now also owns a part of Heineken, wants to build this stadium with a capacity for 55,000 people on 26 hectares in Monterrey's green "lung". The 140 hectare area is where hundreds of different species of animals and plants live. The Party for the Animals calls nature lovers and Heineken drinkers, both national and international, to therefore send a protest e-mail to change the place where the stadium is built.

The La Silla river runs through this incredible reserve, and is of utmost importance to both human and animal health, especially for those people in urban areas. The stadium would also increase the amount of traffic, noise pollution and damage to the environment. The Party for the Animals finds it unacceptable that a sub-division of Heineken is helping to destroy such an important nature reserve as this one. The stadium's construction is not directly Heineken's responsibility, but this beer manufacturer will benefit from it, as the stadium will only sell Heineken and FEMSA drinks. Moreover, the Monterrey football club is FEMSA property too. Heineken-FEMSA needs to own up to its ecological responsibility and apply pressure so that construction does not take place in this nature reserve.

My colleague Member of Parliament in the Lower House, Esther Ouwehand asked parliamentary questions last week about disputed pain experiments on mice. Scientific publication Nature Methods published the Canadian research into pain expression in mice, in which the animals were administered sensations of extreme pain such as the injection of acetic acid into their stomachs and damaging their nerves. The publication reveals that the University Medical Centre in Leiden ins involved in this dubious research. The Party for the Animals therefore wants an explanation from Minister Klink of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport as to why the Netherlands is involved in these cruel experiments. We find it unimaginable that after hundreds of millions of experiments on mice worldwide, that research is still being done to find out if we can recognise pain in mice.

Last week on Dutch current affairs programme called Network, they suggested we eat kangaroo meat because kangaroos do not produce damaging methane gasses as cows do. A kangaroo meat trader was given the opportunity to tell the fairytale about how the kangaroo meat industry is so animal-friendly. Lucky the World League for Protection of Animals is calling for everyone to voice their concerns about the commercial kangaroo industry to the Australian government!

See you next week, Marianne.