Worldlog Week 49 – 2008

5 דצמבר 2008

The Party for the Animals achieved a fantastic result in the district water board elections. The party gained a total of eight seats in the six districts that it contested. The district water board elections were held to form new administrations for the 26 water board districts in which the Netherlands is divided. The main tasks of a water board are dike maintenance, water management and water quality. The Party for the Animals wants the water boards to focus more on animal welfare, nature and the environment by tackling issues such as animal-friendly river banks, cleaner water, an end to the costly and cruel muskrat hunt and a stop to angling. Our representation in the water boards will take our work further and is an opportunity to give animal welfare – also on the district water boards – the attention it deserves!

With the result of the district water board elections, our total number of elected delegates now stands at 20. More and more people are starting to realize that the way we treat animals in our society must change for all our sakes. Until recently, the interests of animals barely registered with politicians in the Netherlands. Thanks in part to the support of our members and the people who vote for us, we are in a position to act as catalysts in changing how we in this country think about animals. The speaker of the lower house of the Dutch parliament, Ms Verbeet, recently said in an interview that she thought it very special that a Party for the Animals should be represented in the national parliament. Unique for our democracy!

On Tuesday I debated with Minister for the Environment Cramer on the import of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Two weeks ago, the lower house accepted a motion that called for Minister for Agriculture Verburg to vote against the admission of gentech soybeans (genetically modified soybeans) during the European summit of ministers of agriculture in Brussels. The minister refused to carry out the motion and voted in favour any way. Next week European ministers for the environment will meet in Brussels on the initiative of the current holder of the European Presidency, France, to discuss the admission of gentech crops and the reliability of the studies into safety. The Party for the Animals is against genetic tampering with crops because we do not know what the long-term consequences will be while the negative effects are already apparent. Greenpeace, for example, points out that in practice gentech soybeans result in more use of poisons, large-scale monocultures and loss of biodiversity. Moreover, farmers are being made increasingly dependent on expensive patented seeds with the associated pesticides and herbicides. The Dutch government, however, stills buys into the rosy picture painted by the industry. Moreover, it pursues a very one-sided policy of protecting the interests of the cattle-feed and bio industries, both of which are calling the loudest for the admission of gentech soybeans.

Until week!