Worldlog Week 40 – 2011

7 October 2011

It was World Animal Day last Tuesday and I hope that people all over the world took a moment to consider animals as beings with needs instead of thinking of how best to prepare them for the pot. The Party for the Animals certainly marked the day.

My fellow Party for the Animals parliamentarian Esther Ouwehand presented a biological cake to a pet store in The Hague in appreciation of their decision to stop selling rabbits and rodents. They are the fourth pet store in the Netherlands to end the sale of guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits! We wanted to put these pet stores in the limelight, so Esther went along with a cake and a certificate of appreciation from the Party for the Animals. People who come into this pet store looking to buy a rabbit or pet rodent are directed to the neighbourhood animal shelter. Animal shelters are overflowing and the pet trade is not particularly animal friendly. We hope that other pet stores in the Netherlands will follow this good example.

On Tuesday I travelled to the small town of Soest to give a number of saved battery hens a new home. Battery chickens live in wire gauze cages where each chicken has less room than an A4 sheet of paper. And after egg production starts to drop off at around one year, it’s off to the abattoir where they are turned into boiling-hens, known as ‘soup chickens’ in Dutch.

However, the organization ‘Red een legkip’ (Save a laying hen) is buying chickens from the bio industry for placement with ‘adoptive parents’. ‘Save a laying hen’ is a fantastic initiative! More than one hundred hens were spared an end as soup chickens and are now living the life they deserve. I think it is important that people see the terrible conditions of the chickens that are forced to spend their lives as egg-laying machines in the bio-industry.

Foto: Marcel Antonisse

On Monday it was time to celebrate: we have held seats in the Dutch parliament for five years now – and are still unique in the world. Nowhere else is a Party for the Animals represented in a national parliament. During these first five years we have often repeated the words of Gandhi, words hold true for any liberation movement: first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.

This week State Secretary for Agriculture Bleker made a concession by saying he would see what could be done about the horrendous dolphin hunt in the Faeroe Islands. To inspire the state secretary to do his utmost for the dolphins, Esther presented him with a DVD of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove which highlights the fight against the slaughter of dolphins.

We believe that Europe must rise up against this massive ritual slaughter that occurs in the Faeroe Islands each summer. As the pilot whale – a protected species of dolphin – travels from one place to another in the summer looking for food, it faces grave danger if the vicinity of the Faeroe Islands. The inhabitants of this group of islands, which are part of the Kingdom of Denmark, use the summer migration of these dolphins to carry out ‘a religious rite of passage’, a ritual that involves the violent driving of the dolphins into a bay where they are slaughtered by men wielding sharp knives. Nothing is done with the carcasses. Experts have declared that the meat is inedible owing to the quantities of toxins it contains. It seems that the Faeroe Islanders commit this act just for the sheer cruelty. Totally unbelievable. We hope this barbaric tradition will quickly be assigned to history.

Until next week!