Worldlog Week 11 – 2008

14 מרץ 2008

Welcome to my first Worldlog! First, let me introduce myself. My name is Marianne Thieme and I am the parliamentary party chairperson of the Party for the Animals in the Dutch Parliament. The Netherlands is the most densely populated country in the world when it comes to cattle. After a great number of animal disease crises, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to have a political party whose primary purpose was something other than the short term interests of humans. On 22 November 2006, we won our first two seats in the Dutch Parliament. In 2007, our representation expanded with nine seats in the Provincial States and one seat in the Senate. We hold a pioneering position in the exclusive political representation of the interests of animals, nature and the environment. As such, we receive countless questions from abroad regarding our methods and results, so I would like to report weekly in my Worldlog in as many languages as possible.

We are starting today with a team of 24 people in nine languages, a number which is expected to increase in the coming months. Interest will also be boosted by the release this summer of Meat the Truth, a documentary created by the scientific bureau of the Party for the Animals. The film highlights the fact that cattle farming creates more greenhouse gases worldwide than all automobiles, trucks, trains, boats and airplanes combined. The Dutch version of the documentary was released in December and has generated much public debate (and appreciation).

The influential Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad wrote in a review that the film could be better than An Inconvenient Truth from Al Gore! [Read the English version of the review here]

The film can be seen this summer in numerous cities worldwide including Sao Paulo, Madrid, Brussels, Fortaleza, New York, London, Dresden, Peking, Singapore, Taipei and Sydney, as well as across the Netherlands. Mail for screening dates to

This week I was in Cambridge, England for the filming of the international version of Meat the Truth. While there, I spoke with John Powles from Cambridge University who recently argued in the Lancet
for a drastic reduction of meat consumption. Better for the animals, better for the climate, better for the world food distribution and better for public health!

The coming weeks will be filled with the filming (6 April in Amsterdam) and editing of the documentary. That means quite a full schedule on top of the work in the Parliament. This week, we debated over our objections against stopping the moratorium on whale hunting. We are absolutely against lifting the moratorium on whaling; but the Christian democratic Minister of Agriculture Gerda Verburg argued in the Parliament to allow “a bit” of whaling. She believes by doing so the whalers would more easily agree to protect the whales. We do not agree with her standpoint whatsoever and, fortunately, the majority of the Dutch Parliament agrees with us: hands off the whales!
This week, we also discussed the legislative proposal to make sex with animals punishable by law. This is a proposal initiated by the social democratic party who is experiencing difficulty keeping to its animal-friendly election promises and so has chosen for a relatively “harmless” subject.

Naturally, the Party for the Animals is against every form of animal abuse, but this is clearly a form of symbolic politics. Member of Parliament Harm Evert Waalkens, who is also a farmer, introduced the proposal. During the debate, we asked if he intended his proposal more for the protection of the sexual integrity of animals or for the protection of “good morals,” as in catching perverts.

Were it the sexual integrity of animals that concerned him, then logic would imply that he would also object to other such animal abuses. To name a few, the large-scale artificial insemination of cows, the castration of millions of pigs (without anaesthesia) and the sex discrimination that permits 50% of all chicks to be shredded alive simply because the males are not useful for meat and egg production. His answer was clear: he is trying to protect the good morals of people and if it happens that some good comes out of that for some animals, then that is fine too. He would not dare burn his fingers on actually respecting the sexual integrity of all animals because there would be too much resistance from large economic interests. Thus, we witness only a very small step forward without the rights of animals truly being recognised.

Our sister party in Spain, de Pacma received 41,000 votes in last week’s elections. This is a brilliant start in a country like Spain, where there is so much animal suffering on such a large scale!

The coming weeks, I will gladly inform you more about our party, our representatives, our activities and plans.

I hope this Worldlog will inspire people around the world to establish a Party for the Animals to defend the interests of animals, nature and the environment against the only species on Earth that destroys its own environment: the human species.

Until next week!

P.S. Our ambitions currently exceed our physical possibilities, so at this time, we can only respond to email written in English.