Mari­anne’s Blog: Growing green resis­tance

18 יוני 2019

Our international movement has gone through a range of successful elections. For the European Elections we worked together with our European sister parties under the name of “Animal Politics EU”, resulting in almost two million votes and three seats in the European Parliament (EP) together. We as well as our Portuguese and German sister parties now have one seat in the EP. We are very proud of this. In the next five years, our movement will voice a green, progressive and critical sound in Brussels.

The European Union (EU) has been looking after the farming industry's interests from the start. That is why animals deserve a powerful voice, as was evident from this article in The Guardian: it would appear that sections of the European Commission tried to hide a report into the climate impact of the livestock industry and EU's farming policy, until at least after the European elections. Since 2012 (!) greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock industry have continued to increase.

Next to the successful European elections, the Dutch Party for the Animals also gained an additional seat in the Senate, our German sister party Partei Mensch Umwel Tierschutz won 15 new seats during the municipal elections, and our recently formed Belgian sister party DierAnimal made history straightaway by winning one seat in the regional parliament of Brussels. Our Australian sister party gained twice as many votes during the Senate elections compared to 2016. Wonderful!

Meanwhile, we have also been keeping busy in the Netherlands. A journalistic investigation and leaked-out minutes, which the Party for the Animals already obtained from European consultations in 2018, showed that the Dutch government opposed to the BeeGuidance. This is a new assessment model for pesticides that should strongly improve the protection of bees. The Dutch government promised to work towards this, but did the opposite behind the screens. For years, Our Minister of Agriculture and her predecessors secretly supported the chemical industry instead of the bees. Scandalous and irresponsible.

That is why we did not only successfully call for a motion to adjust the government's policy, but we also filed a no-confidence motion against the Minister. However, the last motion was not adopted. What is more, the other parties expressed their outrage about us daring to put the Minister in a bad light. We consider the failure to protect animals, nature and our health as a lack of priority among the other parties.

The Party for the Animals tried stopping Europe to grant a mega-loan to Ukranian's leading poultry producer MHP, with an adopted motion . It was an enormous loan - taxes paid by European citizens - that would have been provided to a company that intended to finance gigantic chicken farms in Ukraine, and also in Slovenia. Such gigantic stables cause huge animal suffering and have an impact on the quality of water, soil and air. Stopping the mega-loan was a great success for animals and our living environment.

Once more, it became evident last week that the Dutch livestock industry is completely disregarding the weak rules for animal welfare. Previously, it was already shown that the NVWA, the organisation that supervises compliance and that should protect animals, fails to supervise slaughterhouses and livestock farms on a structural basis. Now it has appeared that they also issue export licences for animals that are too sick or too weak to be transported. This concerns hundreds of animals - pigs and cows - with wounds and abscesses, that can hardly walk because of the pain. We have requested a parliamentary inquiry into the supervision of livestock farms and the meat sector in the Netherlands. It is time to tackle the lawlessness within the meat sector.

“I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” Those are the words of the young climate striker Greta Thunberg, which she recently spoke. That is why I called on the government and the House of Representatives, following on from many countries and cities worldwide, to declare a state of climate emergency. Politicians should stop passing on problems to future generations and postponing them. We in the House of Representatives, will do everything possible for the Dutch government to start tackling the problems around climate and biodiversity. We should do what is needed to keep the Earth habitable, and not what is politically feasible.

Our party is very successful on a local level. Amsterdam opts, at the initiative of our municipal council party group, for the principle of ‘Carnivore?, Pass it on!’. It means that the food served at events organised by Amsterdam is vegetarian by default. People who want to eat meat or fish have to ask for it. It means that the current standard has changed, it is the new normal. This is a great win for animals and the climate!

The fact that society is increasingly changing to eat plant-based food, has also become evident from this experts’ report. According to their report, most ‘meat’ in 2040 will be from plants instead of dead animals.

Finally, some great news from Canada: after years of efforts by several parties and organisations (including our sister party Animal Protection Party of Canada), the breeding of dolphins and other porpoises, such as orcas, has finally been banned. Keeping these animals captive is pure animal suffering and we hope that the Netherlands will soon follow the example of Canada!

Until next time,