Party for the Animals is working hard on inter­na­tional coop­e­ration, in Europe and beyond

10 March 2021

The Dutch Party for the Animals does not only focus on the Netherlands, and not only on animals. For years it has been building a worldwide network of sister parties and organizations that strive for positive change for animals, people, nature, and the environment. In the European Parliament too, the Party for the Animals is committed to getting and keeping human and animal rights, healthy food, a fair and sustainable trade policy, and the protection of nature and the environment high on the agenda. "We have a planetwide vision, and our core themes are pre-eminently cross-border," said Christine Teunissen, senator for the Party for the Animals. "International cooperation is much needed and inspiring."

Participants in the world conference Eco-Crisis: Turning the Tide.

Planetwide: Plan B and the Animal Politics Foundation
The Party for the Animals says it is concerned with one thing: the planet and all its inhabitants. As can be read in the election program 'Plan B' (also available in audio version, sign language, Frisian and English, and summarized in no fewer than 13 languages), the party operates from a planetwide vision, in which the interests of people, animals, nature, and the environment are viewed together and the consequences that our actions here have for other parts of the world are always taken into account. In addition to the Netherlands, the party is also active internationally. In 2012 it founded the Animal Politics Foundation (APF), with the aim of strengthening the international movement of people who stand up for animal and human rights and the environment in politics, public administration, and society.

"The APF not only focuses on people who are already politically active, but wants to inspire a larger audience," the foundation states on its website. And with success: 19 sister parties have already been established. Representatives of these parties have already been elected to local or national councils and parliaments in Portugal, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Australia. "It is not without reason that the Party for the Animals is called the most successful political export product in the Netherlands," said senator Christine Teunissen.

All these parties are independent, but share a number of fundamental values and ideals. The APF supports them: by making contacts and sharing knowledge and experience in workshops, conferences and webinars. For the European parliamentary elections in 2019, eleven parties for the animals in Europe joined forces in a joint campaign video. And with weekly news items and international blogs from party leader Esther Ouwehand, the APF informs and inspires a growing international audience.

Representatives of one of the 11 parties for the animals with the joint manifesto for the 2019 European Parliament elections.

The foundation also disseminates (online) internationally relevant knowledge by making available translations of films, books, the party program and proposals of the Dutch Party for the Animals. For example, an English translation of Esther Ouwehand's book 'Animals Can Get the Plague, and Then?' will soon be published as an e-book, just like The Canary in the Coal Mine by Marianne Thieme and Ewald Engelen was previously. Documentaries like One Single Planet and #Powerplant are subtitled in multiple languages. The proposal to criminalize ecocide and 150 proposals to improve the European agricultural policy were also recently translated into English.

Europe and international solidarity

MEP Anja Hazekamp (center) in the European Parliament.

In the European Parliament, the Party for the Animals also stands up for its ideals. The party is critical of the current European Union, but is outspoken in favor of international cooperation. "At the moment, the EU is still too focused on promoting global free trade and protecting the interests of large companies. Vulnerable values in this EU usually lose out against the interests of big money," according to the election program. "Free trade agreements, agricultural subsidies, and the promotion of biomass have made the EU one of the driving forces behind the climate and biodiversity crisis."

The party is committed to a different, more democratic, and more transparent Europe, with a stronger European Parliament and a policy that puts climate justice, regional production and sustainable agriculture, fair trade, animal rights, and reducing our ecological footprint first. And with success. For example, the subsidy of millions to breeders of fighting bulls was stopped and thanks to PftA MEP Anja Hazekamp, a parliamentary investigation has recently been launched into the large-scale abuses during animal transports. Hazekamp also plays a leading role in making European agricultural policy more sustainable. In addition, the Party for Animals has managed to block the destructive trade agreement with South American countries (Mercosur deal).

Conference participants from 28 countries demand better protection of our nature in front of the Brazilian consulate in Porto, Portugal.

The Party for the Animals explicitly opts for "international cooperation with people all over the world who are committed to a liveable Earth (...) and for a fair distribution of what the planet has to offer.'' International solidarity, development aid and the fight against global inequality, a humane and fair refugee policy, and tackling the root causes of conflicts are therefore equally among the party's spearheads. "Climate change makes areas uninhabitable, loss of biodiversity in some places endangers food security, environmental pollution destroys the local living environment, and armed conflicts make many people's lives unsafe. Not infrequently there is a link between these problems," the party's program states. "A healthy world for animals is a healthy world for people," says party leader Esther Ouwehand. "We are committed to this nationally and internationally."