Worldlog November 2015
At the invitation of the Curacao Society for the Protection of Animals, I have travelled to the Caribbean during the autumn recess from 22 to 27 October. They had organised a charity gala dinner where I discussed the troubled relationship between man and animal.
I took this opportunity to point out the considerable improvements yet to be made by the Curacao government in order to become more animal-friendly. After all, in addition to its massive stray animal issue, Curacao only sells battery cage-eggs, and items such as the consumption of meat, hunting, animal testing and the suffering of many purebred dogs that are bred solely for their external traits are not high on the political agenda. Many of the attending guests approached me after my speech to exchange thoughts. It has been an inspiring evening on which I have met many friendly and enthusiastic animal protectionists.
Presentation / With Gregory Berry, chairman of the Curacao Animal Rights Foundation / Meeting with the Governor, Mrs. George-Wout
I have had many discussions with various animal welfare and environmental organisations, including Friends of the Earth, Curacao Animal Rights Foundation and DCNA (Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance). An important subject of debate with Friends of the Earth was the Isla oil refinery (formerly known as Shell) located on the island, and its impact on the environment and public health. Shell has still not taken any responsibility with regard to the damage caused by the refinery for years on end.
Furthermore, I have visited the animal shelter in Willemstad. The financing as well as the continued existence of this much-needed animal shelter are at risk, which could prove a disaster for the many cats and dogs that receive shelter here. I have discussed this problem with the shelter’s Governor Mrs George-Wout. She was very positive about the idea of setting up a mobile animal clinic with the purpose of neutering dogs in the different districts.
On Bonaire, I have spoken to people from Wild Donkeys and Donkey Sanctuary in order to deepen my knowledge on-site of the situation of the donkeys living there ever since the Spanish brought them to the island in the 16th century. On several occasions, I have put forward Parliamentary questions about the situation of these donkeys. Different animal protectionists hold rather different views on the best possible approach and I have made thorough inquires about it with several organisations. They do seem to be in agreement about two things: the donkeys should regain access to old, currently closed springs, and the animals should be better protected from traffic on the island.
As soon as the autumn recess was over, I put forward my Parliamentary questions regarding the Chinese pandas to our Prime Minister and our Minister for Foreign Affairs. It so happens that the Netherlands was given two pandas by the Chinese government as a “present”, or rather they were lent to us as a result of a trade mission between China and the Netherlands. Exchanging fragile and rare animals and then displaying them in a Dutch zoo is truly outdated and should certainly not be part of a trade mission with a country where human and animal rights are violated on a large scale. China “lends” pandas to countries with which they want to form a closer relationship. It would be to the credit of our government if it would choose human rights and animal welfare over trade. Furthermore, I believe that a prime minister and a minister for Foreign Affairs should concern themselves with matters that are more important than obtaining pandas for a zoo’s commercial gain.
Last week, the World Health Organisation has added processed meats such as bacon, ham, hot dogs and hamburgers to the list of carcinogens . Once again, this demonstrates that consuming less meat not only benefits animal and environment, but our own health as well.
To conclude, I would like to share with you this fun news item about a British football club that serves its fans strictly vegan snacks.
Until next time!