Worldlog Week 38 – 2010

24 Σεπτεμβρίου 2010

The day of the Queen’s speech in the Netherlands is once more behind us. It was an unusual speech as it was written by an outgoing cabinet and will probably only apply for a short period until the new cabinet takes office. The budget, which was presented later by the outgoing Minister of Finance, unfortunately makes it clear that we are going forward with the ‘business as usual’ model. We are going to pass the costs for our actions down to future generations in terms of a lack of sustainable energy, a lack of nature, a lack of a clean environment, clean water, clean soil and clean air. In brief, a lack of a liveable society for humans and animals.

The Party for the Animals says that it is time for change! That is why Esther Ouwehand and I seized the opportunity presented by the traditional hat parade on the day of the Queen’s speech to argue for sustainability and animal-focused thinking in the choices made by politicians, but also in the choices made by individual citizens. I wore a chef’s hat with the caption ‘Fish Free Fridays’. This follows on from the Meat Free Mondays campaign that I drew attention to last year on the day of the Queen’s speech with a chef’s hat. Meat Free Mondays argues for one meat-free day per week to reduce CO2 emissions. Fish Free Fridays refers to the need to reduce fish consumption in order to stop the plundering of the seas and oceans. Because each fish that is caught is one too many.

For the day of the Queen’s speech, Esther collaborated with MasterPeace, a international alliance that sets up projects around the world to promote world peace. This year the day of the Queen’s speech coincided with the International Day of Peace and, for the occasion, MasterPeace designed hats for a number of members of parliament. Esther said that people could themselves contribute to world peace by using their knives and forks as weapons. A sustainable diet, i.e. less meat and fish, will help keep the planet liveable and, consequently, bring world peace a little bit closer.

Last week, the Party for the Animals, announced the good news that the advertising of antibiotics for use in cattle violated European rules. The pharmaceutical industry must end the advertising of antibiotics in trade journals for the cattle-raising industry. Consequently, the Party for the Animals has again scored a goal in its fight against the excessive use of antibiotics in the intensive cattle-raising industry! Previously, the Minister of Agriculture, Verburg, said that the use of antibiotics had to be halved within four years; this was shortly after the Party for the Animals had succeeded in placing the issue on the parliamentary agenda. Verburg shares in her response to our parliamentary questions the concern that the extent and manner of advertising antibiotics is part of the problem of the excessive use of antibiotics in the intensive cattle-raising industry.

I am delighted with the minister’s promise. The high use of antibiotics in the cattle-raising industry is extremely harmful to the health of both humans and animals. While a prohibition of this type of advertising is a step in the right direction, we aren’t there yet.

How great it is to be able to report that a board member of PINK!, our youth organisation, was in New York last week to speak during the Millennium Summit of the United Nations. PINK! was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following a video competition. In a short video PINK! responds to three statements about development cooperation. The film was so good that PINK! won the jury prize.

Until next week!