Worldlog Week 38 – 2008

19 ספטמבר 2008

This week in the Netherlands it was “Prinsjesdag”, the day of the Queen’s annual speech to the country from the throne and the presentation of the budget for the next year in the Lower House. During the ‘costume ball’ which is a traditional part of the speech from the throne held by Queen Beatrix (who has since decided to give up eating meat one day of the week and has promised to no longer serve foie gras during royal banquets), my colleague Esther Ouwehand wore a shawl with goldfish and I donned a Stetson cowboy hat to show that we are no longer prepared to leave animal welfare to cowboys but are going to take charge of things ourselves.

Marianne Thieme and Esther Ouwehand during “Prinsjesdag”

Koningin Beatrix reads the speech from the throne

During the Parliamentary Debate on the Speech from the Throne, in which the chairs of the parliamentary parties and the prime minister discuss the government’s plans for the coming year, I expressed my admiration for the fact that, while the world is immersed in a climate crisis, a food crisis, a credit crisis and various animal-welfare crises, the Dutch government stoically maintains that things are going well and speaks of “favourable purchasing power”.
The Dutch government seems mainly interested in “what more we can get” rather than in what we are losing in terms of clean air, clean soil, biodiversity and compassion.

Although the cabinet’s plans can hardly be called animal-friendly, there is a small ray of hope in the reference to a policy that aims to reduce meat consumption. This is clearly the result of our continuous arguing for the same. The film “Meat the Truth” also played a significant role in this new thinking in government circles. The minister of the environment watched the film with her civil servants. A (sceptical) minister of agriculture also saw the film and instructed her department to do the math. But after 3 months of dogged number-crunching, her people are still unable to fault the film’s conclusions.

Meat the Truth will premier in the United States on 3 October during the Artivist festival in the beautiful and historic Egyptian cinema, one of Hollywood’s only historic monuments.

Yours truly will be attending the event and if you happen to be in the neighbourhood, you can order tickets here.

Good news from Brazil. Following the showing of the film in Fortaleza (last August), serious plans are now afoot to set up a Brazilian Party for the Animals.
An excellent development. Brazil is affected from all sides by the craving for animal products as well as by the resulting land degradation and deforestation.

Until next week!