Building a Compassionate Movement at the World Conference
At the tail end of 2023, participants from 28 different countries gathered in The Hague, the Netherlands, for the annual Animal Politics World Conference. This year's theme was 'Building a Compassionate Political Movement'. In a world of rising populism and increasing conflict, the conference was a beacon of hope and connection. As one of the participants remarked at the end of the conference, ‘These meetings are always warm and important moments that give us the opportunity to build a better world together.’
The conference brought together people from the Middle East, North and East Africa, Europe and Oceania. Every year, new participants from other countries join, which is a clear sign that our international movement is growing and getting stronger.
Visit to the Dutch Parliament
The conference started on Friday with a tour of the Dutch Parliament, where new MP Ines Kostić and former MP Eva van Esch explained the Dutch political system and the Dutch Party for the Animals' way of conducting politics. The participants were also allowed to take a look at the plenary hall of the House of Representatives, where important debates take place every week and which is normally not open to the public.
During the weekend, training sessions took place on campaigning, fundraising and participating in political elections. In addition, there were lectures by the German political scientist Ali S.M. Abad on the representation of animals in political processes and by the Belgian author of the book How to Create a Vegan World, Tobias Leenaert, on how to keep hope as an activist. Recordings of these speeches will soon be available on the website for everyone to view.
Strengthening the community
In addition to training sessions and speeches, there was a lot of room for networking and strengthening the community. During the opening drinks, several participants had their own table at which they could tell other participants about the work of their organisation. There was a lot of attention for organisations working in Palestine. Among others, Vegans for Palestine was represented, an organisation dedicated to bringing vegans worldwide together for the Palestinian cause by sharing information on social media. Another Palestinian organisation present was the Baladi Palestine Animal Rescue Team. This animal shelter provides medical care to stray animals in Palestine, facilitates the adoption of strays, and is committed to raising awareness about animal rights. Other organisations that received extra attention were Luv4All Uganda, UAnimals Ukraine and Global Animal Law Association.
The Plant Based Treaty
The weekend ended with the joint signing of the Plant Based Treaty, an international initiative that promotes a shift towards a healthier and sustainable plant-based diet. Initiators of the Plant Based Treaty spoke about their initiative, highlighting large organisations and cities that have already signed and providing practical examples of the project. Keep an eye on our website for more about this initiative!
The more than eighty participants returned home after the weekend satisfied and inspired by new ideas, knowledge and friends. ‘I can't put into words how much energy, inspiration and new ideas I've gained. It has given me a lot of strength to meet all of these compassionate and powerful people,’ said one of the participants of the conference.