Worldlog Week 27 – 2011

8 July 2011

Our fifth year in the Lower House has brought a huge breakthrough for the Party for the Animals. For the very first time, our party has had a legislative proposal approved, and with an overwhelming majority: 116 politicians voted for a ban on unanaesthetised slaughter and just 30 voted against it. Never in recent parliamentary history has a private member's bill from the Lower House provoked such a huge societal discussion in the Netherlands, as well as in many European countries and the rest of the world.

The legislative proposal aims to abolish the exception in the existing rule and the rule in the Netherlands is: Animals in the Netherlands do not actively have to experience their deaths and should not have to depend on the religion of their slaughterer. Never before has a measure that is limited to one idea led to such a broad understanding. This means we have even more cause to take a critical look at what we do to animals for economic reasons.

Questions are now cropping up about cooking lobsters alive, de-sliming eels in saltwater, animal transport, the factory farming industry, mega stalls, to cut a long story short, huge amounts of people have, as a result of the discussion on unanaesthetised slaughter, been made aware that we are falling short of our responsibility towards other living creatures.

Previous limits to the freedom of religion that have been generally accepted include a woman's right to vote, the treatment of homosexuals or refusing blood transfusions for children, in this case, the shock is caused by the thought that a transgression in people's lives, welfare and well-being can be a reason for curtailment, but so can an ingression on that of animals.

During the last parliamentary year, the understanding grew that the crises that plague our country and our world will force a turning point in our policies that we introduce.

The understanding unfortunately hasn't reached theDutch minority coalition and its partner in condonance the Product Boards for Livestock, Meat and Eggs (PVV), but it has reached a growing number of citizens and opposition MPs. A Member of Parliament from liberal coalition party the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) was the embodiment of the denial phase the cabinet was in just so they could conduct business as usual. First he suggested that meat consumption has nothing do to with sustainability – because there would always be pigs – that Fukushima didn't experience a disaster, but an easily managed incident. Meanwhile others are increasingly being affected by animal disease crises, raw material and water scarcity, overfishing, antibiotic resistance, the banking crisis and the European monetary crisis that has brought us to the edge of the abyss. The only safe step we can now take is a step backwards. Back from the abyss and towards a new, sustainable future that respects people, animals, nature, and the environment. A policy that recognises the earth's reproductive capacity and that does not mortgage our children's future. A policy that does not focus on might makes right, but where the interests of the weakest elements are given thorough consideration.
This cabinet currently earns a 'D' in that respect. But a turning point is coming. We will stop sawing away at the branch on which we're sitting. We, as the Party Animals are proud to be able to play a role in this, to protect the future interests of the generations to come.

In Serbia, animal welfare group Neutrinos Company have decided to bring politics up-to-date on how they are not, or not sufficiently enforcing their current animal welfare act. In their letter they specifically target unanaesthetised slaughter, not properly sedating the animals during regular slaughter and animal abuse. What a wonderful initiative! Unfortunately only five small political parties have bothered sending a response. I hope the parties in power in Serbia will react to the letter and work to improve their adherence to the animal welfare act.

Have a wonderful summer and see you again at the end of August!