Esther's Blog – People all over the world are fighting for the protection of animals and nature

1 June 2022

The past month has shown that increasingly more people worldwide are making a stand for the protection of nature, animals, and the environment. They understand that the fate of animals is linked to ours: a safer world for animals is a safer world for people. A healthy environment and flourishing nature are literally of vital importance. But instead of protecting these, governments in many countries allow large companies to destroy our environment. Increasingly more citizens are starting to fight this. And successfully so!

For example, Nepalese citizens won a lawsuit against their government, which wanted to build an international airport the size of over 11,000 football fields. To do so, about 2.5 million trees in the Nijgadh region would have to be cut down, with disastrous consequences for the environment, biodiversity, wildlife, and local population. Fortunately, Nepal's highest court has now ruled against the government's plans. Such an important victory for Nepal's brave nature warriors!

In addition, Ecuador became the first country in the world to grant legal rights to individual wild animals in a historic court case. Animals are now seen as legal entities and granted the right not to be hunted, caught, or traded. Ecuador was also the first country in the world to include the rights of nature in its constitution. The Party for the Animals, together with our sister parties worldwide, also advocates for giving animals and nature rights, and adding their protection to the constitution, which is the best way to counteract the omnipotence of large polluting companies.

Earlier, the Party for the Animals submitted a proposal to the Dutch parliament to criminalize ecocide, the large-scale damaging and destruction of ecosystems. If this happens, government leaders and directors of companies can be prosecuted if they are guilty of destroying our nature.

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National Geographic’s short video about the Akashinga women, produced by world-renowned filmmaker James Cameron

And did you know that there is a growing team of female foresters in Zimbabwe who are successfully trying to stop the killing (poaching) of wild animals such as elephants in the country? They are aptly called "the brave" (Akashinga). They work de-escalating and together with local communities to protect animals and nature. It is a well-paid job that puts the women in a better position, from which they can build a healthy future for their families. And these Akashinga women do their courageous work on a completely plant-based diet! Which makes sense _ protecting animals obviously also means that you don’t eat them.

Last month, several organisations and animal protectors from Albania and Kosovo organised a conference where they jointly called for better legislation and a stronger enforcement to protect animals. The conference was the initiative of the Albanian Institute for Environmental Policy (IEP) and received much press interest. I am very pleased that our international Animal Politics Foundation was able to support this important conference. My fellow Member of Parliament Christine Teunissen also gave a short online lecture, in which she emphasized the importance of treating animals and our living environment with more respect, especially in these times of climate and biodiversity crises.

And last but not least, some good news from Great Britain, where more and more farmers choose to quit livestock farming and switch to, for example, vegan agriculture. Last year we were very honoured to welcome Rebecca Knowles as one of the speakers at our side event at the COP26 international climate conference in Glasgow. She is the founder of Farmers for Stock-Free Farming and helps farmers to switch to an agricultural system that does not require the use and killing of animals. Amazing!

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At the COP26 side-event of the Party for the Animals, Rebecca Knowles explains why switching to plant-based agriculture is better for our planet and farmers alike.

Until next month!

Esther Ouwehand
Party leader of the Dutch Party for the Animals