Worldlog Week 08 – 2010

26 February 2010

A week after the fall of the cabinet, the issue of Uruzgan continues to grip Dutch political life. Last week the Dutch cabinet resigned because the coalition partners could not agree on the Dutch mission in Uruzgan.

But even after the fall of the cabinet and a Lower House majority in favour of not extending the mission to Uruzgan, the CDA (Christian Democrats) continues to try to persuade other parliamentary parties to consider the NATO request to prolong the mission.

SeaWorld Florida was the scene of a tragic incident last week. Just before the start of a show, orca Tillikum grabbed hold of his trainer after she fell in the water. The female trainer probably drowned. It is not the first time that a SeaWorld orca has attacked a trainer. The animals suffer not only because the pools in which they live are far too small, they are in a constant state of stress brought on by boredom and loneliness. This latest accident is more proof that these magnificent animals don’t belong in amusement parks but should be free in their natural environments where they can live in family groups.

Orca Lolita has also spent her entire life in captivity, but fortunately that may soon change. An international demonstration is being organized for Saturday 22 May to free Lolita. Lolita was captured 40 years, taken from her family, and ever since she has been performing in the sea aquarium in Miami. In all that time she has been kept in a tank just one and a half times her length, which is illegal but the authorities have never acted. In order to free Lolita or to at least improve her living conditions, protests are being organized around the world. Studies have also shown that Lolita has the right skills to survive in the wild. On 22 May a demonstration is planned near the US embassy in The Hague. Do you want to do something to help free Lolita? Visit the website ‘save lolita’ to find out when demonstrations are planned near you or to suggest a city where you would like to demonstrate or organize a demonstration.

On Thursday in the Lower House, I presented the Parliamentary Annual Report 2008-2009 during a meeting for members and the press. It was also an opportunity to look back at 1000 days of the Party for the Animals in parliament! The Party for the Animals is the only Dutch party that gives an account of itself in this way to its supporters and the world on the work it does in the Lower House. We have achieved a lot in those 1000 days. For example, the cabinet adopted as official policy a changeover from the consumption of animal proteins to vegetable proteins (eating less meat) and the cabinet set aside six million euros for research into meat substitutes. The Party for the Animals was also responsible for getting a ban on ‘enriched cages’ for laying-hens and it submitted a private member’s bill to ban the ritual slaughtering of animals without anaesthetic. There was much interest in the presentation and I look back on a wonderful and interesting day.

Another piece of good news; the world’s largest consumer of palm oil, Unilever, has instructed suppliers not to do business with the Indonesian palm oil producer Duta Palma. That company is responsible for the total destruction of rain forests, which is threatening the orang-utans. The Indonesian government stated that the deforestation had cost the lives of 50,000 orang-utans. Unilever uses palm oil in numerous products, such as cookies, potato chips, ice cream, margarine and soap. Unilever intends to use only sustainable palm oil from 2015. Great development!

Next week promises to be an exciting one. Local elections are being in the Netherlands on 3 March and the Party for the Animals is contesting them in six municipalities. Watch this space next week to find out how we did!

Until then!