Esther’s blog: Compassion and humanity have to take centre stage more than ever

2 mars 2022

I would like to dedicate this blog to all inhabitants of Ukraine and their loved ones. The Party for the Animals wishes them a lot of strength, safety, and support. The war against Ukraine is a horrible deed of aggression by Putin and a flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Ukraine. The Party for the Animals pleads for tough sanctions against Russia and for the Dutch government to welcome refugees.

What is happening to the Ukrainian people is a horrible nightmare. The people from Ukraine that we have worked with especially are in our thoughts at this time. People from organisations such as UAnimals, Environment People Law, Ecoaction and the brave women of The Sirius Shelter.

All these organisations and their staff work for a better, healthier world for both humans and animals day in, day out. UAnimals has been working together with civilians against the abuse of animals for ‘fashion’, such as fur, or ‘entertainment’, such as in circuses or dolphinaria. Environment People Law is a group of highly specialised people that share and apply their knowledge in order to protect our water, clean air, wild animals, forests, and other forms of nature.

I greatly admire The Sirius Shelter, led by the brave Alexandra Mezinova, who I have had the pleasure of meeting once. They take in animals in distress, offer help, and courageously voice their concerns in local politics to stop, for example, cruel practices against stray animals. Lastly, there’s Ecoaction, an organisation of people that resist the pollution of the living environment of both humans and animals. Together with civilians, they have also been involved for years in the fight against enormous industrial pig and poultry farms, which are a disaster not just for animals, but for the health of humans as well. Such companies are unfortunately still facilitated or financed by western countries in particular.

The Sirius Shelter, people of UAnimals.

Humans that commit to compassion needed more than ever
Historian Philipp Blom poignantly described the times in which we’re living: “We are seeing a fracture in a time period. We are living on a tipping point. Things could go either way. We are stuck in an economic system that cannot function much longer. It will either end in a catastrophe with new pandemics, wars, no access to resources, and so forth. Or we will tip in the other direction. But tip we will, that is a given.”

All organisations and humans mentioned above embody the values of humanity and compassion. Such people are needed more than ever to push policies in the right direction, and they deserve our support.

After all, the climate crisis is causing more and more areas to become uninhabitable. Through loss of biodiversity, food security is threatened in some places. Because of pollution, the local environment gets destroyed. And because of armed conflicts, many people fear for their lives every day. There is often a link between these problems. The destruction of animals and their habitat will eventually harm people as well. These are often the root causes of why people have to flee from their home country.

That is why it is so important to focus on a healthy economy, which stays within the limits of the Earth and does not inflict any damage to human and animal rights around the world. A truly just, healthy, and safe world will be an impossible dream as long as political leaders keep spending public money on large, polluting corporations, in the sickening industrial livestock industry, and in fossil fuel companies that do not just destroy our nature, but often facilitate autocratic leaders as well.

The Party for the Animals opts to cooperate internationally with people that fight for a livable Earth and the protection of the wellbeing of humans and animals everywhere on the planet. Last month, protests were held against the new construction of inhumane, environmentally destructive and nature destroying octopus farms. We have also shed light on the danger that industrial livestock farming poses to the public health of humans worldwide. We have successfully convinced the Dutch government to resist the kangaroo hunt for the export of kangaroo meat and leather to Europe. Not only is this a cruel practice, but it is also a threat to public health. We have also asked the Dutch government to stop investing in the Russian poultry industry, an industry the Netherlands supplies with 240 million hatching eggs every year, at the cost of the environment, nature, humans and animals. Lastly, we have been working to have big polluters pay the bill for their pollution, to force them to pay their fair share in fighting the climate crisis.

I will close with the heartening words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

Stay strong.

Esther Ouwehand
Party leader of the Dutch Party of the Animals