Worldlog Week 41 – 2011

14 October 2011

In Portugal, the PAN or Partidos pelos Animais e pela Natureza, which means 'Party for the Animals and for Nature', have won a seat in Madeiran government! Madeira, an island with an autonomous position within Portugal, is now the second country in the world where a Party for the Animals has won seat in parliament. I send my congratulations to Madeira earlier this week.

The Party for the Animals has once again tabled a motion to save ‘Dutch’ orca Morgan from a life in Loro Parque animal park on Tenerife. The Dolfinarium fished the orca Morgan out of the Waddenzee a year ago in a weakened condition to care for her. We want her to be returned to nature, so this young female orca has the opportunity to return to her family or to attach to a different group. Orca welfare in amusement parks is highly controversial. Scientists have indicated that orca in captivity experience a great deal of stress, so they then go on to display aggressive behaviour. The Loro Parque have had various incidences where orcas have attacked their trainers.

International, independent scientists in collaboration with the Orca Coalition – a Dutch group of animal protection organisations – have put together a step-by-step plan of attack to get orca back to nature. Experts have found a family of orcas near Norway whose voices correspond with Morgan's.

Unfortunately, State Secretary and Minister of Agriculture Bleker thinks that locking the Morgan the orca away in an attraction park for the rest of her life is the best prospect this animal has. He uses this as the argument behind re-granting the Dolfinarium a licence so they can transport Morgan to the Loro Parque animal park. The State Secretary did exactly that earlier this year too, but the judge decreed that Bleker had not sufficiently researched the option of returning Morgan to the sea. Although Bleker has said he doesn't like the idea of orcas being kept in pools, he still chooses to keep the animal locked up over the chance of being successfully released. Hopefully our motion will change all that.

Bad news from the Ukraine this week. According to the Dutch Animal Foundation Platform, stray dogs and cats in the Ukraine were thrown in a mobile crematorium, sometimes even when they were still alive. The Party for the Animals immediately asked Minister Schippers of Public Health Welfare and Sport if he could ask the Ukraine ambassador whether these killing methods were actually applied. And if they were, whether Minister Schippers will contact the Ukrainian ministry to prevent this terrible way of killing animals from ever happening again. These strays were killed in the run-up to the European Championship Football in 2012 in the Ukraine and Poland. They were regarded as a nuisance and therefore removed from the streets in this brutal manner. Large-scale 'clean-up actions' often take place during sports events, like in Greece, 2004 when the government wanted to clean up Athens’s image for the Olympic Games.

The Party for the Animals regularly raises the issue of culling stray animals. In June we asked parliamentary questions about strays in Romania, that were killed in a barbaric fashion. At the time we asked State Secretary Bleker if would speak to his Romanian colleague on this matter. Unfortunately he proved unwilling to do so. We will continue to work for equitable animal welfare policy, not only in the Netherlands, but in Europe too.

See you next week!