Esther’s Blog: To a greener and more animal friendly 2021!

16 December 2020

We’re in the middle of the holiday season and the new year is quickly approaching. For many people, this is a time of reflection and a time to make some new year’s resolutions for the coming year. That holds true for Dutch politicians as well: starting on December 18th, they can use the Christmas recess as a much needed time to think and reflect. As I wrote at the start of 2020: the world is at a tipping point. These next few years will be all-decisive. The COVID-19 crisis has indelibly left its marks on 2020, but it has also shown that we can solve a lot of future problems by treating animals and nature differently than we do now.

Changing our approach to animals

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The documentary Dominion with subtitles in 30 languages.

During one of my most recent debates, I drew attention to the miserable fate that awaits the billions of animals that are abused and killed in the livestock and fashion industries. Around the world, about 134,000 animals are bred and killed every second. If you would like to know more about this, please watch the highly impressive documentary Dominion.

Luckily, more and more people are choosing to stop supporting this system. They are becoming aware that the way in which we currently treat animals goes against our own human dignity. Across the entire world, an increasing number of people are choosing plant-based products as a result. Encouraged by organizations such as Lebanese Vegans in Lebanon, together with whom we organized a great webinar a week ago.

A lot of animal suffering caused by the fashion and livestock industries remains hidden. I am convinced that many more people would stop buying animal products such as meat and dairy if our governments ensured the highest degree of transparency possible. If they were to show all of the horrible things that are done to animals and the incredible impact they have on our living environment and our health.

At the moment, our taxpayers’ money is wasted on funding misleading campaigns for animal products. Even though the societal costs of the livestock industry are enormous. For Dutch tax payers, they amount to a staggering 6.5 billion euros a year. By transitioning to a plant-based food system, we can avoid animal suffering and environmental problems and save money at the same time. A good resolution to have for 2021, I’d say!

Should you want to try a more plant-based diet in 2021, you can find some nice recipes here. You can also join a challenge to try a plant-based diet for 22 days. If you would like to know more about why that’s not the worst idea for your health either, you should watch the documentary Game Changers this holiday season!

New Year’s Resolutions for Governments

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Campaign Fight for 1 point 5 by Fridays for Future.

The world is battling various crises all at once. Across the globe, citizens are jumping into action to change things for the better. Such as the international Fridays For Future movement that has mobilized many young people, such as Greta Thunberg, and has encouraged them to protest and demand their governments to finally start protecting their future. Click here to see a global map of actions. One of the most recent campaigns is Fight for 1 point 5, meant to pressure governments into doing what is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, as agreed upon in the Paris Climate Agreement. It’s good to see how young people are taking responsibility!

Governments of wealthy nations, such as The Netherlands, should be doing a lot more already to prevent the destruction of our nature, our waters, our fertile soil and all of the other things that are vital to our survival. It is this same group of wealthy nations that has depleted the majority of the earth and that continues to support big, polluting companies.

The Party for the Animals is keeping pressure on the Dutch government to stop investing in the wasteful, polluting livestock industry and fossil fuels, amongst others. Money should be invested in the health of humans and animals, in climate action, in nature and in sustainable employability. This month, we asked the Dutch government to refrain from spending another 10 million euros in the fossil fuel industry on the island of Bonaire. The oil industry has caused huge problems over there. We plead for investments in clean energy, especially because the climate on and around Bonaire offers many chances for solar and wind energy.

Last week, the organization Eyes on Animals published horrific footage showing what happens to calves that are transported from countries such as the The Netherlands through Spain and all the way to Lebanon. These practices are clear instances of serious animal suffering and torture and they’re no exception. Still, the Dutch government invests huge amounts of money in supporting these horrible live animal transports. Even pregnant cows are transported all the way to Russia with the financial support of our government. This year, the Dutch government also supported a poultry project in Egypt.

These are some of the many examples of how rich nations promote animal suffering, pollution, water depletion and nature destruction in countries that are already vulnerable to these issues. We are doing everything in our power to stop that.

Once again, we have also plead for the criminalization of ecocide: recognizing the destruction of nature as a crime. This way, it would become possible to internationally prosecute CEO’s and government officials who make decisions that seriously harm the environment. We will follow up on that with a proposal soon!

This is my last blog of 2020. On behalf of the entire Party for the Animals team, I would like to wish you a peaceful, loving, and animal friendly holiday season.

I’ll see you again in 2021, when we come back re-energized to fight to change this world for the better!

Esther Ouwehand
Party leader, Party for the Animals