Esther’s Blog: Team Planet is growing!

30 March 2021

“I'm voting for the Party for the Animals. An election programme that consists of realistic ideals and protects that which is vulnerable. I regret those times that I decided to vote strategically. So this time I'm voting with my heart. Fundamental, positive changes: who could be against that?”

That’s what a well known Dutch actor posted on social media last week, a day before the elections for the Dutch House of Representatives. He chose courage and voted for positive change. And he wasn’t the only one: our Party for the Animals grew by 20% to six seats! If it had been up to Dutch voters abroad, we would have even won 8 seats. Our planet-wide vision is clearly embraced abroad as well.

In my last blog, I pointed out that the Party for the Animals is the only party that follows science and consistently points out the need for system change. As such, we will not settle for half-baked measures that merely fiddle at the margins. The solutions for the various crises are already there, the only thing standing in their way is a lack of political courage. We are the driving force that pushes politicians bowing to the fossil fuel lobby out of their comfort zone, and we encourage them to do their best for our planet and all its inhabitants.

It’s good to see that more and more people recognise our role. We can see our movement growing outside of the Netherlands as well: our German sister party gained four seats during the latest municipal elections. Congratulations!

Esther Ouwehand with a Party for the Animals voter.

No concessions on the constitutional state and the future of our children
At the moment, coalition talks with various parties are ongoing. The Party for the Animals has stated its willingness to be a part of the new government, but only if it is serious about tackling the issues that we face. We are in a health crisis, a climate crisis, and a biodiversity crisis, and on top of that there’s a severe shortage of affordable houses. The Netherlands continues to participate in the cruel exploitation of animals on a massive scale. And there’s still a lot of discrimination and social injustices around. I previously wrote about how the Dutch government harms the constitutional state and infringes upon the rights of citizens.

As such, according to the Party for the Animals, the top priorities for the new cabinet should be:

  1. Preventing new pandemics.
  2. Solving the climate, biodiversity and housing crises integrally.
  3. Transitioning to a sustainable and just economic model that stays within the limits of the earth.
  4. Actively combatting racism and discrimination.
  5. Fighting poverty and promoting economic and social equality.

We do not want another coalition built on compromises and half-baked ideals, but one made of courage and willpower to tackle the largest problems of our time.

The six elected representatives of the Party for the Animals celebrate their electoral gain.

A stronger team to fight injustice together, also internationally

MEP Anja Hazekamp in the Spanish port of Cartagena, to witness the horrors of the trade in live animals there.

Meanwhile, our battle for positive change goes on. Many people, for example, do not know that the production process of dairy kills young calves. Bull calves are of no use to dairy farms, so they are separated from their mothers right after birth and sent off to a calf-fattening farm for beef production. This month, a report from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture confirmed what the Party for the Animals has been pointing out all along: these calf-fattening farms have to end. Not only is the sector cruel to animals and a contributor to climate change, it also poses a threat to public health as it heightens the risk of zoonotic diseases and epidemics. The report points to the high number of pneumonia cases amongst the calves and a high mortality rate due to bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics due to their highly frequent use. The report also strongly condemns the long, international calf transports.

Each year, the EU exports millions of farm animals, such as calves, across long distances. There is overwhelming evidence that these transports are truly horrendous for the animals. Our MEP Anja Hazekamp continuously fights to end these transports. The European Commission fails to take any action, and the member states that participate in such horrors, such as Romania, deny any and all involvement even when proof has been recorded on tape.

In my previous blog, I spoke about the most recent example of these horrible animal transports: thousands of bull calves that left Spain for the Middle East but were refused entry at their destination, resulting in a three month long aimless drift at sea. Some of those cows have now returned to Spain, to the port of Cartagena, and will be slaughtered there. At the time of this writing, Anja Hazekamp is there at the port. She is reporting to the Committee of Inquiry on Animal Transports, which is currently investigating serious malpractices during animal transports thanks to the efforts of the Party for the Animals.

Vets who were allowed aboard the ship in Spain described how the animals were practically swimming in their own excrement. Crammed together, emaciated and parched, without a proper space to rest. The bull calves had injuries, broken tails and inflammations. Some animals were in such a poor condition that they barely responded and could not open their eyes.

Meanwhile, another crisis is developing in the Suez canal: again, there are animals stuck in horrible conditions aboard six vessels that cannot continue their journey.

These examples are no exceptions. Thanks to your support, we can now fight to end these things with a bigger team - both domestically and abroad.

So keep following us and keep speaking out against injustice!

Till next time,

Esther Ouwehand
Party leader, Dutch Party for the Animals