Esther’s Blog: Hold on, for a liveable planet!

27 April 2022

“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.”

That is what António Gutierrez, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said after the publication of the latest report by the international climate panel IPCC earlier this month. It is remarkable that someone in such an important position speaks out so clearly. Scientists have, once again, warned that we are on a path towards a completely unliveable Earth. It is painful to see that scientists in various parts of the world had to hit the streets earlier this month to ask their governments to please listen to climate scientists. It is typical for these past decades of political unwillingness and failing climate policies.

But I am also proud of these people and of everyone who raises their voice for effective and just climate policies! Proud of everyone who actively works towards reducing their energy consumption and generating sustainable energy. Proud of everyone who commits to stopping deforestation and the industrial livestock industry to protect our nature, health and animals.

Hold on, dear people. Because all of us together can realise the necessary changes.

Party for the Animals at a climate protest with banners saying “Less Meat, Less Heat”, to draw attention to the disastrous impact of the industrial livestock industry on our planet.

Getting to work with plans for a green future
In the Netherlands and in the European Parliament, we will keep fighting for quick and just climate action and the toughest possible sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Earlier this month, our proposal to ban the import of woody biomass from Russia was adopted by the Dutch parliament. That ends the burning up of about 100,000 shredded Russian trees a month. This is not just a win for the climate, but also a way to ensure we are putting less money into Putin’s war chest. Earlier, we proposed to stop importing Russian coal, oil and gas, but that proposal was not adopted in the Netherlands. Thankfully, the European Parliament voted in favour of a comparable ban.

Besides that, our MEP Anja Hazekamp called upon the European Parliament not to delay sustainability measures and to stop facilitating and subsidising industrial livestock farming that seriously harms the climate, nature, and the health of both people and animals. European plans to make agriculture greener are threatened by people wanting to secure the future of the industrial livestock and fodder industries. Still, a lot of valuable soil is being wasted on cattle fodder. Because of the war in Ukraine, less protein and fodder is available, but the solution to this is highly logical: keep fewer animals and focus on feeding humans directly and sustainably. In the European Parliament, Anja Hazekamp has submitted a number of proposals to aim for sustainable food production and food security in the long run.

I myself suggested speeding up the process of reducing our livestock industry in the Dutch parliament, and reducing our consumption of animal protein. I also proposed making farmlands currently used for the production of cattle fodder suitable for producing crops that are fit for direct human consumption. Here the adage holds true as well: a better world for animals is a better world for humans.

Protecting animals

Esther with a dog.

Last month, there was good news for the animals coming from Europe as well. Based on a survey by the European Commission, it has been found that tens of thousands of citizens and companies want a radical improvement of European laws to better protect animals. That is a clear assignment to the European Commission: get to work, now!

In the Netherlands, we have achieved two significant successes as well. Our proposal to no longer separate Ukrainian refugees from their pets was passed by parliament. Animals are an integral part of the family, and those bonds should not be broken. Besides that, animals will from now on be a part of crisis roadmaps, making it easier to help and evacuate animals during wars and disasters, such as floods.

Lastly, I called upon the Dutch government to close down duck farms as quickly as possible. This industry is a hotspot for dangerous infectious diseases that can make the jump from animals to humans, the so-called zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19. Furthermore, the degree of animal suffering in duck farms has structurally been very severe for years already. Duck meat is mainly exported to other countries and completely unnecessary, since there are plenty of sustainable and healthy alternatives that come without the animal suffering.

I would like to close this blog with the words of the Dutch animal ethicist Bernice Bovenberg: “Most people know that the production of meat and dairy are not exactly gentle, but we like to come up with excuses to not have to know that.” Shall we all stop using those excuses?

Until next month!

Esther Ouwehand
Party leader Dutch Party for the Animals