Esther’s Blog: Lots of good news for the planet and all its inha­bi­tants!

9 juni 2021

There was a lot of good news last month for people, animals, and our planet! In one of my previous blogs I wrote that the world is at a tipping point. All over the world, people of all ages and backgrounds are taking to the streets or going to court to demand action to keep our earth inhabitable. More and more people are speaking up against injustice: injustices against people who are already struggling and injustices against billions of animals.

And they are succeeding, the most recent example being the lawsuit the Dutch environmental organization Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth) and many citizens won against mega-polluting oil company Shell. Shell is doing far too little to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030, putting human and animal lives at risk. Shell has known this for a long time - and it also knows the solution. And according to last week’s landmark ruling, doing too little in that case is indictable. This is a big slap on the wrist not only for Shell, but for all big polluters. It also provides opportunities to deal with similar companies in other countries. Praise and many thanks to everyone who worked so tirelessly on this!

After the judge’s ruling, the director of Milieudefensie, Donald Pols said: "Today is a tipping point. I’m going home feeling a little bit better about my children’s future than yesterday." And rightly so!

Tipping point for the animals
We saw a similar tipping point for animal rights last month. Firstly, because the Party for the Animals managed to bring about three crucial legislative changes. Changes that will finally start providing animals with real protection. They ensure that an animal’s natural behavior becomes leading in livestock farming: animals may no longer be adapted to the system (e.g. by cutting tails), but the system has to be adapted to them. Which also means, for example, that ducks must be able to swim, pigs to root around and cows to graze. Furthermore, animals will finally be protected from barn fires. And the breeding of animals can henceforth be limited if necessary. These are important steps on the road to ending the livestock industry!

There was an amazing breakthrough in the United Kingdom as well: the cruel export of live animals will finally be banned! The Animal Welfare Party, our British sister organization, has campaigned on this for a long time. They will, of course, continue to work hard to ban other forms of animal suffering such as the sale of fur.

Lebanon also brought good news for humans and animals alike: recently, the Hayek hospital in Beirut became the first hospital in the world to switch to a completely plant-based (vegan) range of meals. Better for people and animal health!

All the above will also help to diminish the risk of new pandemics (such as COVID-19). How this works exactly? Check out our short animation on the topic, created by the world-famous Steve Cutts! Would you like to help protect human and animal health worldwide? Then sign our global #Foodrevolution petition!

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The short animation "A Viral Spiral", selected for the British Animation Film Festival, paints a clear picture.

Tilt in the European Union
In the European Union, too, we saw the balance tip towards a green, animal-friendly and healthy way of life. The European Parliament withdrew a previously adopted proposal against plant-based dairy products (the so-called Amendment 171), after almost half a million citizens indicated by means of a petition that they deemed the proposal ridiculous. It had been pushed by the powerful milk lobby, which fears competition from the growing popularity of plant-based milk products such as oat milk and vegetable cheese. Thanks to the actions of many organizations, citizens and businesses, the lobby lost this battle. Which is not only good news for animals, but also for our climate: plant-based dairy products are many times better for our planet than animal dairy, according to, among others, Oxford University.

Another huge breakthrough, thanks in part to the efforts of the Party for the Animals, is that the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment wants to classify ecocide - the destruction of or large-scale damage to ecosystems (including dumping of toxic substances, greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation) - as an international crime against humanity. The Party for the Animals has submitted a similar proposal in the Netherlands to criminalize ecocide. If that happens, the International Criminal Court in The Hague could prosecute government leaders and corporate executives if they commit ecocide.

The same Committee on the Environment also wants the EU to take substantial additional measures to protect and restore nature and biodiversity – much needed as nature is in awfully bad shape.

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Inspiring campaign film from the British Animal Welfare Party.

And finally, some other good news from the UK Animal Welfare Party: compared to previous elections, it grew by more than 70% in terms of voting numbers in the recent local London elections. Because of the complicated electoral system in the UK, the party has not yet gained a seat in London, but its growth clearly shows that many British citizens also want a just, green, and animal-friendly society.

Vanessa Hudson, the leader of the AWP, used the slogan: "Come on, London, let's lead!"

Here is to more courageous leadership around the world!

See you next time!

Esther Ouwehand
Party Leader, Dutch Party for the Animals