Mari­anne’s Blog: Less meat, less heat!

9 July 2019

Summer has really started in the Netherlands. Many people enjoy a cold drink or a dive in the water to cool down, but millions of animals in the livestock sector are kept locked in stables, without any fresh air. We see trucks packed with animals on the road, being transported in the burning heat to slaughterhouses, sometimes dying of misery even before reaching their destination. A heart-breaking sight.

That is why last month, the Party for the Animals urged the Minister for Agriculture to take adequate measures with immediate effect: a systematic reduction in animals, more living space, free range with room for shelter, and no transport on warm days. If it is up to the Party for the Animals, there will be a National Heat Plan for animals, just as the one we have for people. It is time we started treating animals as sentient beings rather than waste products.

Our MEP Anja Hazekamp has used the new European Parliament’s very first meeting to put animal suffering during transport on the agenda. To that end, she has used one of the most powerful tools an MEP can use: a parliamentary committee of inquiry. This committee is entitled to hear witnesses, retrieve documents, organise hearings and undertake missions to seek out the truth. In the time to come, Anja will do everything in her power to find sufficient support for this committee. The European Parliament cannot let the animals down again.

Luckily, Anja now has extra support: after the last European elections, she now also has Francisco Guerreiro (of our Portuguese sister party PAN) and Martin Buschmann (of our German sister party Tierschutzpartei) on her side. Three super powers for the animals in the EP!

Anja Hazekamp with colleagues Francisco Guerreiro (PAN) and Martin Buschmann (Tierschutzpartei).

The three MEPs have managed to get a seat on the important Agricultural Committee: the perfect place to oppose the livestock sector and speed up the transition to a truly sustainable, plant-based agriculture. Their seat will also enable them to prevent miserable trade agreements such as the Mercosur deal from happening. The Mercosur deal is the largest trade deal ever, which will lead to the large-scale dumping of factory-farmed chicken meat, contaminated beef and heavily sprayed sugar from countries like Brazil on the European market. A disaster for animals, human rights, nature and the environment. Nevertheless, the European Commission has consented, even before the new European Parliament was in place. An affront to democracy in Europe. Fortunately, the deal is not yet final. So please write an email to the MEPs asking them not to support this disastrous plan.

In the meantime, we are still coping with a climate crisis. The Dutch government has just agreed on a so-called climate agreement, which is just another typical example of compromising, which for the last ten years has led to our government putting off urgent measures, their most important argument being: “we should keep it fun and affordable”. This attitude has led to unacceptable risks resulting in serious consequences that will not be fun nor affordable.

With their climate agreement, the government is ignoring the court order to seriously tackle the climate crisis. The livestock sector has finally been recognised as a problem, but the big elephant in the room – a decline of the livestock population – is still unmentionable. The only thing the cabinet is doing right now is providing the livestock sector with extra subsidies for the umpteenth time. Money for pig farms that were already closing down, more fertilizer plants for brown energy and more stables firmly closed to daylight.

Children’s march against large biomass power plant in the Netherlands.

Not to mention the logging. On the one hand, the government has agreed to plant a few trees, on the other it is subsidising biomass power plants. This will lead to large-scale logging in order to fill the incinerators, eventually producing more emission than is saved. That is why we have tabled a legal amendment to put an end to this madness and ban coal as well as wood fuel.

Last week, twelve-year-old Cain organised a national children’s march to protest for clean air and against biomass from burning wood fuel. If it takes children demonstrating on the streets because they fear for their own health and future, our government has truly lost its way. Impressive to see how these children are not deterred by the propaganda machines behind the biomass companies. Cain even spoke to city councillors and aldermen, sending a clear message: make our health and nature your number one priority again. Fantastic!

Every parliamentary year in the Netherlands is concluded with a barbecue funded by the meat lobby, during which politicians, directors and journalists are blatantly advertising the polluting meat sector. It is incomprehensible that ministers, state secretaries and MPs are participating in a dinner that has been exclusively organised by a specific branch of the industry. In addition, the livestock and meat industries are under social attack, as these sectors kill 600 million animals each year after a short and miserable life. An industry in which, according to research by ‘Dier&Recht’ (Animal&Right), 2.7 billion violations of law are committed each year. This barbecue creates the impression that policy may be influenced through a politician’s stomach.

However, resistance against the meat lobby barbecue continues to grow, and our alternative, vegan barbecue next to the Dutch House of Representatives attracts more visitors and gets more enjoyable every year. This year’s barbecue was another pleasant experience!

Team Party for the Animals at vegan barbecue.

Finally, some good news to kick off your summer: thanks to our motion the minister will be required to protect people living near bulb fields against toxic pesticides by establishing spray-free zones. Pesticides have potential negative health effects for vulnerable groups, such as small children. It is therefore essential that these groups receive better protection.

This is my last blog before summer recess. In September I will be back and it will be time for our World Conference in Portugal. During this event, dozens of our sister parties and NGOs will gather to make our international movement for animal rights and the planet even stronger. In September I will tell you more about it.

Have a good summer!