Esther’s Blog: Fighting for our ideals with renewed energy!

14 December 2023

On 22 November, parliamentary elections were held in the Netherlands. Their outcome sent shockwaves, both at home and abroad, with Geert Wilders’ far-right party emerging as the largest. The PVV is a party whose scapegoat politics is the common thread running through its entire ideology, and which regards Dutch Muslims and refugees as second-class citizens. This is enormously painful and sad. To all those people who are doubtlessly disheartened and afraid right now, I say: “You will find the Party for the Animals on your side”. We will keep fighting for equality and equal rights. And to Geert Wilders I say: “The rule of law applies to everyone”.

And then, there is our own result to consider. The Party for the Animals won three seats in the Dutch parliament. That means we lost three seats. This is disheartening, and something we will have to come to terms with. It also means that we had to say goodbye to four fantastic parliamentarians on 5 December: Frank Wassenberg, Lammert van Raan, and Eva Akerboom were not elected this time, and Eva van Esch had announced previously that she did not wish to continue as an MP. Each of them has fought hard for animals, nature and the environment, and achieved many successes in recent years. We will miss them.

Also some good news

There is also some good news to report: on 6 December, all current Members of Parliament were officially sworn in, and we were happy to welcome Ines Kostić aboard on our team. Ines has been the manager of our Animal Politics Foundation for many years, and also served as a Member of Provincial Parliament for the Party for the Animals in the province of North Holland since 2019. Her portfolio will encompass the environment and environmental pollution, the abolition of animal testing, and civil rights. Is she ready to represent the Party for the Animals in the Dutch parliament? You bet! “The time has come for politics with courage and compassion,” says Ines.

Newly sworn-in MPs for the Party for the Animals MPs Esther Ouwehand, Ines Kostić and Christine Teunissen.

Fighting for our ideals

Although our team has shrunk somewhat, you can count on us to keep fighting relentlessly for our ideals and for the future of our planet and all its inhabitants. I want to thank all of our voters for having the courage to choose that which is truly of value. The Party for the Animals is needed more than ever now. Nature, in itself, does not care about an election result. The animals in the livestock industry need us more than ever. So, you can count on us to keep fighting for our ideals. We are more prepared to fight now than ever before!

A new cabinet will be formed in the Netherlands in the coming months. As far as we are concerned, there is no place in a new cabinet for parties that do not respect the rule of law. Indeed, in a democratic state under the rule of law, it is not only the number of votes cast by voters that counts. Protecting the rights of minorities and the rule of law as a whole is also a very important task of public representation. The Party for the Animals believes that respect for and adherence to the rule of law should be a non-negotiable precondition during the formation of a new government. And you can count on us to hold the other parties to this!

Politics according to the Party for the Animals

As far as we are concerned, a new government should make it a priority to solve the climate and nature crises in tandem, with the accompanying inevitable reduction in livestock numbers. Aside from this, there are many other problems facing us today that also need to be addressed, such as the housing shortage, and the fact that many people’s income is too low to make ends meet and that healthcare that has become inaccessible and unaffordable for many people. Actively fighting discrimination and racism should also be a priority.

We live in a pivotal era. In times like these, citizens should be able to count on a new government to restore confidence in politics, rather than further eroding this confidence. Citizens must be able to trust their government to make choices that will safeguard our survival. Ines Kostić, Christine Teunissen and I will ensure that our bright green voice is heard, loudly and clearly, in the Dutch parliament and we will be working hard in the coming years for a sustainable future in which animals, nature, climate, and justice are given priority.

In fact, we already achieved our first success. On the very first day on which the new parliament met, we managed to get almost every party behind our proposal to make the cabinet turn against the weak European Commission, which has taken it upon itself to massively water down stricter rules on animal transport. If it is up to the Party for the Animals – and almost the entire Dutch parliament – this will not happen. That means the European Commission will have to deal with opposition by the Dutch government in this matter. And you can count on the Party for the Animals to stay on top of this!