Worldlog Week 47 – 2008

21 נובמבר 2008

This week we are celebrating our second anniversary in parliament and to mark this occasion we presented our second parliamentary annual report. Here is an abbreviated version of my presentation speech:

One of the questions that confront us is: has the world changed much since the Party for the Animals entered parliament as the first party in the history of the world whose representatives do not primarily work to protect their own species?

Yes, things have most definitely changed. 2006 had its share of large societal problems, but there was still no talk of a credit crisis, a currency crisis, a widely-recognised climate crisis, a fresh water crisis, the threat of a H5N1 pandemic, food shortage or to put it briefly, no widely-felt crisis of civilisation.

We said upon entering parliament that we expect that things will run their course, but there would be a price to pay, as human-centric thinking would lead to a crisis that cannot be swept under the rug. It is of utmost importance to plot a different course.

Compassion and sustainability do not align with the short-term thinking that characterises other parties, where Westerners and their money play a central role.

We insist that none of the crises mentioned could ever have spontaneously occurred in the animal world. Humans cannot survive without animals, animals can survive perfectly well without humans. Better than with humans, in fact.

Humans seem to use that which separates them from the animals, that is to say our greater intelligence and the power to make moral and ethical decisions, to their disadvantage, so much so, it will endangered life on earth, even within the foreseeable future.

This is what justifies the Party for the Animal's place in parliament and will also lead to the Party for the Animals no longer being able to be pushed aside as a decadent indulgence of tender hearted people who want to knit jumpers for pigeons. We have the important task of introducing the softness factor into the Chamber. We do not focus on might makes right, but request attention for the plight of the weakest.

Today we present our second parliamentary party Parliamentary Annual Report to the First and Second chambers of the States General for the Party for the Animals for the parliamentary year 2007-2008. The report runs to more than 900 pages. No other political party has ever before given such an in-depth report accounting for the work they perform in parliament.

By we are chasing after short-term gains we are calling down a large-scale disaster on ourselves, and we will leave a damaged world behind for future generations. According to the WWF, the world consumes 30% more than it creates and in the rich West, we consume three times as much, as if we had the right merely because the surface area of Europe is so large. One in four animal species is in danger of becoming extinct, simply as a consequence of having to compete with humans.

In a political environment that is plagued by so much adversity, it is a foregone conclusion that the Party for the Animals will not be praised for her efforts. The bearer of bad news is seldom popular.

Humans as a race are not very much inclined towards change and that is why everyone who advocates for substantial change must always need to take derision into account.

Our Minister of Agriculture has tied herself up in knots trying to accuse us of lies, ever since the premiere of the film Meat the Truth. And she does this as authoritative institutions indicate that we should all consume far fewer animal proteins.

We put a rocket under many politicians. We support the spokespeople for other political parties that are given more room within their parties to stand up for animals, simply from our presence and the electoral threat that results!

Esther Ouwehand, Marianne Thieme and Niko Koffeman (Photo Thomas Schlijper)

See you next week!