Worldlog week 14 – 2015
For many months, negotiations on the TTIP free trade agreement have been in full swing at a European level. Nonetheless, very few Dutch people are aware of the TTIP plans, partly because the media have paid little attention to the free trade agreement so far. This is about to change now, as Arjen Lubach, a Dutch television producer, has kicked up a dust about TTIP by satirically explaining within 10 minutes what the free trade agreement entails and what its disastrous consequences will be, in his television programme. TTIP is likely to throw overboard all standards with respect to the environment, animal welfare and food safety. This is why the Party for the Animals also says NO to TTIP!
Dutch government have always maintained that European food safety standards will not be lowered and that American hormone meat will therefore not be allowed on the European market. These statements have proven to amount to nothing, because – even before TTIP enters into force at all – hormone meat is likely to be admitted to the European market. This means the standards are already lowered.
We issue a warning that, in addition to hormone meat, other prohibited food will come to Europe in due time. Brussels wants to implement the free trade agreement with the United States at all cost, no matter if we will get hormone meat or clone animals on our plate. At my request, Parliament will finally hold a plenary debate on the admission of the free trade agreement and its consequences for agriculture and the environment.
Last week, the European Parliament voted on granting 1.8 billion euro of EU support to Ukraine. Our party voted against this multi-billion support to Ukraine. European multi-billion support to Ukraine is like adding fuel to the fire with regard to the conflict in and around Ukraine. Instead, Europe should do everything to stabilise the situation in Ukraine. The proposal of the European Commission proves that the underlying purpose of the multi-billion support is to bring in Ukraine into the EU. The question is whether Ukraine shares our values sufficiently. Recent statements by the Ukrainian government have proven that animal welfare is an absolute non-issue in Ukraine. The proposal of the Commission also proves that the 1.8 billion of EU money is intended, inter alia, to reform the Ukrainian banking sector. Beefing up Ukrainian banks with European tax money cannot be justified.
“Values such as peace, freedom, democracy, respect for human beings, animals and the environment should be the thought behind European cooperation. Now, expansion and trade interests at any cost are the main objectives,” said my colleague, MEP Anja Hazekamp.
More and more often, pigs, chickens and calves become ill. According to farmers, this is because they have been forced to cut down on antibiotics. Under political pressure, the use of antibiotics in the cattle industry has more than halved over the past 5 years. The antibiotics that are needed to keep animals alive while they are crammed together in large numbers constitute a risk to the health of consumers. Animals become ill because of crammed stables and a high growth rate in the cattle industry. But the high amounts of antibiotics used in stables also results in bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotics. In short: animals become ill due to the way in which human beings keep animals, and human beings become ill due to the way in which we keep animals.
Good news! Finland now also has a party for the animals: Suomen Eläinoikeuspuolue (Animal Justice Party of Finland). Congratulations and the best of luck!
A good week to all of you!