Marianne’s Blog: Last blog, but the fight will go on
Dear followers, dear planet and animal protectors,
After thirteen years of fighting in the Dutch House of Representatives for everything that is subject of concern to us - the welfare of animals, nature and the environment - I will stop as party chairman and Member of Parliament as from 8 October next.
Last May - after the 24th election that we won since the Party for the Animals was founded - I decided that it was a good moment to pass the baton, so that in the next eighteen months, until the next elections, preparatory work can be done for my succession. We have a strong team and our MP Esther Ouwehand is taking over the party chairmanship from me. She will in future also write the monthly international blogs.
Do not think that I am leaving. You should know that I will continue to work for our joint ideals, but that I will do so outside of Parliament.
The movement I started in 2002 with a small group of people is not one you could stop or would want to stop. After seventeen years of political leadership, I want to continue my efforts within our party in a different way. You may not have been expecting this, but it is never good to wait until such decision becomes predictable.
I have felt very honoured to speak and debate on your behalf in all the places I visited over the last seventeen years. And at difficult times, when politics and media were not eager to hear the Party for the Animals’ message, I managed to tell the uncomfortable truth about animal suffering, climate change and loss of biodiversity, because I felt supported by you. I was never alone, not in any studio, room or debate centre, no matter how hostile it felt. You were always with me. You gave and still give me wings, wings to continue fanning the flame of growing resistance. I am very grateful for this.
Our party is shooting up. Each year more and more people are joining up with us, our movement is growing. Each election again, increasingly more people are voting for the Party for the Animals; we now have eighty people's representatives, in the Senate and the House of Representatives, the European Parliament, municipal councils, water boards, and Provincial Councils. I am incredibly proud of this.
We have our own trainings, organise general workshops and workshops on specific topics, have a scientific agency, an international organisation, and a youth organisation. And, meanwhile, twenty more Parties for the Animals have been founded. Another thing we can be proud of.
We are doing well in the polls: our party is not growing fast, but is growing steadily. It is heart-warming that we are being overloaded with requests from active, enthusiastic members who want to become politically active, go campaigning, and make their expertise available to protect animals, nature and the environment and to help further shape Plan B. Also the number of people from other countries that want to join us because they intend to set up a party for the animals in their own country, is increasing.
The tide is turning and resistance is growing. The number of people who want to live more sustainably is growing fast. And there are increasingly more people who eat less or no animal products at all. We are proved right more frequently: last summer, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report that recommends a more plant-based diet to help achieving the Paris Climate Agreement goals. Increasingly more parties are supporting our plea to drastically reduce the number of agricultural animals.
Critical comments on our economic system are becoming a trend. In the House of Representatives, the party chairmen of various Dutch political parties talked about limiting the growth, broad welfare, high quality of life. I am quite sure that thirteen years of criticising the system by the Party for the Animals with its planet-oriented vision contributed to this.
Who could ever have imagined all this? Not me. And you probably not either.
We appear to be winning. But that victory does not happen by itself. We will need to continue fighting for this, with everything that we have got, not only yesterday, but also today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. We will have to face setbacks, like we had to face them in the past. But we will not be discouraged by this, like we were not discouraged by this in the past. In this fight you will find me on your side, and I will find you on mine.
The parties for the animals that were founded all over the world are unique parties that are part of a unique movement. A movement that does not focus on the short-term interests of the Western people, but on the planet and its inhabitants instead. A mindset that is not focused on humans only should be cherished.
I hope to see you soon again. Over the next few months, I will be travelling through the Netherlands to give lectures on my book called ‘Growing Resistance’. Additionally, I will continue to be available for lectures and other activities abroad. Cooperating with peers in other countries is crucial, since the topics of animal welfare, nature and the environment are transboundary. I will continue to make efforts, together with you, to strengthen the international political movement for animal rights and our planet.
Hold onto your ideals!