Worldlog Week 34 – 2009

21 august 2009

Welcome back all. I hope you can all look back on a great summer and that you are all reenergised to help make animal suffering a thing of the past.

I myself was extremely energised during the World Veganism Festival held in Rio de Janeiro, where I met Marly Winckler, a real power woman who’s going to turn vegetarianism in Brazil into a resounding success, especially since she is able to communicate just how much damage worldwide meat consumption is inflicting on Brazil’s incredible natural beauty.

And she may even get to work setting up a Brazilian party for the animals. In any case, she promised me to give it some serious consideration. A breakthrough could be achieved if 1 in 100 Brazilians voted for a party for the animals, particularly when you take into account that Brazil is a country with compulsory voting!

World Veganism Festival in Rio de Janeiro

In the Netherlands, the newspaper DePers conducted an analysis of the success the Party for the Animals has scored in the first two years its existence. We simply don’t have the space in this worldlog to reproduce the entire article, but you can find it here and then use google translate to get a rough translation in your own language.

What I particularly like about this article is the way it portrays the turnaround in attitude that has taken place in the Netherlands since the arrival of the Party for the Animals:

June 2007
Minister Verburg of Agriculture wants to leave meat alone
In response to parliamentary questions submitted by the Party for the Animals, she writes: ‘If animal proteins in our diet were replaced by vegetable proteins, the pressure on the environment would decrease.’ And yet she won’t intervene. The climate objectives can be easily achieved ‘without altering food consumption patterns.’ No further explanation has been offered.

June 2008
Minister Verburg makes a prudent about face
The minister has commissioned researchers in Wageningen to draw up a report on Meat the Truth. She writes that the film contains inaccuracies. But ‘we expect that a shift away from the consumption of animal proteins to more sustainably produced animal and vegetable proteins will probably be necessary.’

Minister Verburg of Agriculture

October 2008
Eating meat is on the political agenda
Two reports have been commissioned by Minister Verburg and Minister Cramer of the Environment. The following is an excerpt from one of the reports: ‘Following the release of Meat The Truth by the Party for the Animals, the consumption of meat and the impact it has on the environment are firmly on the political agenda. Both the film and parliamentary questions from the Party for the Animals lay a link between the greenhouse effect and meat consumption in the Netherlands. The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries have already commissioned a study into the environmental and social effects of replacing meat and dairy with other sources of protein.’

June 2009
Minister Verburg promotes the eating of insects
During the presentation of her policy document “Sustainable Food”, Minister Verburg showed us to some “food of the future”: fried insects and meatless croquette balls. She now recognizes that (growing) meat consumption is a problem and argues for sustainable food. While this does not mean a 100% switch to vegetarianism, vegetable proteins must start to replace animal proteins in our diet. By 2015, the Netherlands must be leading the world in sustainable food.’

July 2009
Reducing meat consumption is a cabinet priority
Together with Ministers Cramer and Koenders (of Development Cooperation), Minister Verburg is publishing the ‘Sustainable Food Systems Policy Agenda’ in response to reports published in October which themselves were reactions to arguments from the Party for the Animals. The ministers: 'The production of meat and dairy places a great strain on the environment and its unbridled growth would have serious consequences for the world’s ecological system. The problem is considered so urgent by the cabinet that they have made it a government priority: ‘Biodiversity, Food and Meat.' Not only must meat and dairy be produced more sustainably, we in the Netherlands must also start eating more meat substitutes.

Recently (August 2009), the Minister Verburg established a 1.7 million euro subsidy scheme to stimulate ideas on meat substitutes. And a more vegetarian future won’t be limited to just the Netherlands. See what The Times wrote on 10 August.
Everyone who believes in a more compassionate and sustainable world can really make a difference. Let’s join forces to achieve this goal!

All the best,