Worldlog Esther Ouwehand 27 November 2018

29 november 2018

The international movement of animal rights is in a breakthrough phase. Everywhere, more and more people are standing up against the injustice that is being done to animals and our planet. This movement is also getting increasingly more media attention. I recently spoke with a journalist of the Financial Times about the necessity of a politics based on compassion. Do you remember that in my previous worldlog I expressed my admiration for the new animal-friendly politicians and local animal protectors in Moldavia, the poorest country of Europe? Apparently, those super heroes are getting increasingly more attention from the Moldavian national media, and they are given the chance to educate people about the horrors of factory farming and to tell them about how to do things differently. It fills me with hope that more and more people, all over the world, are standing up in public for animals and are spreading awareness as a result. Even in the poorest countries. Because those people already know: compassion doesn’t cost anything.

Ukrainians object to factory farming

Also people in Ukraine are objecting to destructive factory farming. Increasingly more citizens suffer health complaints and see their environment being destroyed by new giga stables where thousands of animals are kept under horrific circumstances. During our international conference this summer in The Hague, conservationists and environmentalists of the Ukrainian organisation Ecoaction told us everything about the horrendous effects of growing factory farming in their country. At the same time, they told us a reassuring story about how they, together with local people, do everything possible to stop this destructive industry. The Guardian wrote an interesting article about it.

Living environment polluted by factory farming in Ukraine

But, unfortunately, these Ukrainian citizens and environmentalists also have to fight against international financial institutions and against the development and trade policy of the European Union (EU). Currently, a large part of development funds and funds of Western companies go to mega stables in Ukraine. The Party for the Animals has already brought up the Dutch role in these incorrect investments in the Lower House. A couple of years ago, we already warned that the controversial association treaty between the EU and Ukraine would particularly entail a great deal of trouble: not just for animals, nature and the environment, but also for many people in Ukraine. The Dutch people voted against the treaty, but the Dutch government again buried its head in the sand and opened up its doors to factory farms, which do not even meet the already weak European standards. Who turn out to be the beneficiaries in Ukraine? Mainly a handful of very rich Ukrainians and intensive factory farms, while the population has to bear the societal costs. Unacceptable.

So many people in Great Britain have now stopped consuming meat and dairy products that they do not have enough chef cooks to meet the new demand for vegetable dishes. We have filed several motions in the Lower House to include more veg(an) food in Dutch chef cook trainings, so that trainings will better meet the market demand.

We also achieved a breakthrough this month: thanks to our pleadings for more vegetable foods at our government institutions, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has opted for vegetarian food by default. In future, the ministry will by default only serve vegetarian or vegan food. Meat will only be served if people specifically ask for it. On our way to a sustainable, animal-friendly food culture.

Even the best-known sausage maker of the Netherlands is now convinced that the (near) future will be vegetal. This traditional meat company introduced four new products and did so perfectly: the products are 100% vegetable and also palm oil free. Perfect for animals, the environment and for all of us in the end.

Party for the Animals team in Groningen celebrates its win in the municipal elections

And finally, some more fantastic election news: last week, the Party for the Animals tripled its seats in the Dutch municipality of Groningen! It is incredibly important that we make our powerful voice heard for animals and our planet, both internationally and locally. Our municipal council party group of Alkmaar, for example, recently set a good example: this month, they decided that in future all vet costs for stray animals will be paid by the municipality. We also continue to fight internationally because animal rights, nature and the environment know no boundaries.

On 2 December next, our Spanish sister party PACMA will participate in the regional elections in Andalusia. 6.5 million inhabitants can then vote for a more beautiful future for our planet. Good luck, PACMA team!


Esther Ouwehand
Parliamentary leader of the Dutch Party for the Animals in the Lower House