Worldlog Week 38 – 2009

18 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009

It’s been a great week! It all began on Tuesday with Prinsjesdag, the day of the Queen’s speech where the Meat Free Mondays chef’s hat stole the attention of the press and public at the traditional “parade of hats” put on by female attendees to the Queen’s speech.

The news got as far as Brazil! Check here.

During the budget discussions I said we needed to realise that the world’s forests are under threat with trees being felled at alarming rates.

In the spirit of ‘never waste a good crisis’ I asked the cabinet to invest more time, energy and money in promoting vegetable proteins and reducing the consumption of meat, fish and dairy produce. This is exactly what the Planning Office for the Living Environment proposes.

At first, it didn’t look as though this plan would win majority support, (most of the traditional parties still fail to make the link between climate issues, deforestation, outbreaks of animal diseases, health problems and fresh water problems and food shortages) but prime minister Balkenende actually adopted the motion: the cabinet is going to commission a study into a meat tax!

I saw a sparkle in the eyes of our minister of finance, Wouter Bos, when the prime minister announced the study (Wouter Bos is a vegetarian himself), while the minister of agriculture fidgeted around very uncomfortably in her chair in the second row. Last week she had announced in the Netherlands’ leading TV news show that, no matter what, there would be no steak tax…

A great victory that will only raise people’s awareness further.

Many members of parliament were critical of our drawing the chamber’s attention to the fact that the Dutch Royal Family receive a 1.6 million euro subsidy to pursue their pastime: shooting deer, boar and roe for fun in the forests surrounding het Loo palace in Apeldoorn.

There was also a well-heard call for the Royal Family to make more concessions, be it in ending the subsidy to the hunting department, a freezing of their generous incomes, making them pay income tax just like everyone else in the Netherlands, preventing them from having a vacation house built in Mozambique, for which the Dutch tax payer is being asked to pay the security costs and a good deal of the transportation costs.

Despite the fact that these proposals did not receive a majority because they were blocked by the ruling Christian-Democrats and its coalition partners, it is clear that we are seeing a shift in attitudes. Animal-unfriendly decadence is being rejected by ever more people and the drive for a more vegetable-based society is gaining increasing support.
And this is even more the case following the recently published report by Tara Garnett

We are gaining ground!

Kind regards and until next week,