Worldlog Week 21 – 2011

27 maj 2011

This week saw the elections for the Upper House, the Dutch senate where all Lower House laws are tested and established: and we have representation in the Upper House for the next four years again with one seat. I am rapt that our senator, Niko Koffeman, will once again use the next four years in the Upper House to fight for the interests of animals, nature and the environment. Thanks to his efforts in the spheres of animal welfare, sustainability, the climate crisis and meat consumption, we have set these issues on the agenda for the Upper House and elsewhere. Niko gained support in the Upper House for proposals to transition to a more plant-based protein production, to test all tax measures for sustainability, and for making sure the agreements surrounding the National Ecological Network (NEN) are met. He also had a motion accepted to give the rivers back to migrating fish and a motion in which the government is ask to take the responsibility of combating animal diseases away from the Ministry of Agriculture and transfer it to the Ministry of Public Health.

The coalition occupies a highly unstable position in the Upper House with just 37 of 75 seats (just as many as the opposition) and has to rely on support from the senator of the rigidly Christian Calvinist Party (SGP) to reach a majority. An awkward situation for Liberalism in 2011: The liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy is being held hostage between a party that wants to ban the headscarf (Party for Freedom (PVV), and a party that obligates women to wear skirts (Calvinist Party (SGP), and a party that subsidises the pollution created by the cattle farming industry (the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA). has an English language interview with me about a private member's bill to ban unanaesthetised ritual slaughter. The Lower House will hold a round table meeting on 16 June to discuss unanaesthetised ritual slaughter. Members of Parliament as well as Islamic and Jewish organisations will attend to discuss the private member's bill together. The Party for the Animals will be there, too. I thoroughly understand the faithful's emotional reaction. They've been taught that this age-old ritual of slaughtering an unanaesthetised animal is the most animal-friendly way. Now scientists the world over agree that animals suffer terribly if slaughtered without anaesthetic, which I understand can be rather shocking to believers. Just before the Lower House's summer recess which starts 3 July, it will hold a debate in which we will vote on the legislative proposal.

How wonderful to hear that Switzerland is stopping their use of nuclear energy, just like Germany. Now we just have to convince our Minister of Economic Affairs to not award a permit to construct new nuclear power plants and to close the current nuclear power plant in Borssele. This minister from the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA) is highly motivated to build new nuclear power plants and seems unwilling to take advice on this point. Even now his party is at a historical low in the polls (during the 2006 elections they were 20 times larger than our party, now the polls place them as only 5 times as large), he still seems to want to enter into an entirely unsustainable policy, against all advice.

And finally, hard-hitting images from the United States that show how the country is once again being ravaged. Dutch newspapers are discussing the cause of the huge number of enormous tornado’s the United States are currently experiencing. La Niña, El Niño's sister that comes around once every three to seven years, is dumping a lot of rain on America. But La Niña cannot be the sole cause. Scientist say global warming has a role to play in this display of natural violence. Unfortunately, many Americans don't believe it yet. However, in order to put a stop to global warming and its associated natural violence, we must grab the opportunity to limit global warming to one to two degrees Celsius with both hands! We could do this, for example, by producing and consuming fewer animal proteins.

See you next week,