Worldlog Week 09 – 2010

5 March 2010

The Party for the Animals increased its representation from 20 to 26 people at last week’s municipal elections. The municipalities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Groningen, Apeldoorn and Buren now have a local councillor that focuses exclusively on the interest of animals, nature and the environment. Fantastic!

Candidate from The Hague – Jet Barkel (right) anxiously awaits the results.

We have one seat in Amsterdam!

The Party for the Animals took part in the municipal elections for the first time in its history. The candidates and active party members waged a tough campaign, and all that hard work bore fruit. These election results means The Party for the Animals now has a total of 26 people's representatives. We already had two members in the Lower House, one member in the Upper House, nine Members of the Provincial Council in eight provinces, eight District Water Board Directors in six District Water Boards and, as of last week, six municipal councillors in six municipalities.

It is important for us to be represented on the local level too. Municipalities will take care of animal welfare issues such as animal emergency assistance, licensing for events that include animals such as circuses, and handling the stray cat issue in an animal-friendly manner. Municipal policy will also include fighting environmental pollution and promoting nature conservation.

We wish to realise a few animal-friendly measures in our municipalities, which include installing an alderman for animal welfare, nature and the environment, as well as scrapping the dog-licence fee and creating sufficient dog-run areas andmore green spaces, discouraging circuses that use wild animals, introducing structural animal emergency assistance and encouraging the use of sustainable energy. To make a long story short, the Party for the Animals will strive towards liveable municipalities with respect for people, animals, nature and the environment.

Some more positive news. The retraction of the Sea Shepherds' sailing licence has been taken off the table because, on the insistence of the Party for the Animals, the topic was declared controversial. This means that the current outgoing cabinet is no longer handling this topic and the next cabinet must take it up.

Sea Shepherd is an international organisation that sails under the Dutch flag and that takes action against whaling. Sea Shepherd tries to hinder illegal Japanese whaling in the waters around Antarctica. After Japan complained, the Dutch cabinet decided to seriously broaden the criteria for retracting sailing licences. (Sailing under the Dutch flag is governed by what is called the Certificates of Registry Act.) It very much appears that the proposed, very broadly formulated reasons for retraction are chiefly designed to remove the Sea Shepherd’s Dutch sailing license, because the Netherlands is scared that trade relations and the relationship with Japan in general will deteriorate.

However, if the Dutch government has issues with Sea Shepherd's actions, there is a simple solution. The Netherlands needs to adopt a far stronger approach concerning Japan. They are not keeping to the agreements made. The Netherlands however has hardly any backbone. The Netherlands should take a leaf from Australia’s book. Australia has threatened Japan with legal action if they do not adhere to the moratorium over the coming year. If whales are no longer hunted, Sea Shepherd will no longer need to fight. Happily, the subject of retracting Sea Shepherd’s sailing licence is no longer on the table.

See you next week!