Worldlog Week 05 – 2012

30 January 2012

Here's a good piece of news to start us off. In 2011, the Party for the Animals experienced the highest rate of membership growth of all the political parties in the Netherlands! We welcomed 640 new members last year, an increase of no fewer than 5.5%. According to research conducted by the Documentation Centre for Dutch Political Parties, in 2011 our party experienced the fastest growth in both relative and absolute terms.

We have been growing continuously since our introduction to the Lower House in November of 2006. A quote from our Chairman Luuk Folkerts on the matter: "This is great news for our party. Increasing numbers of people are connecting to our basic principles of compassion, sustainability, personal freedom and responsibility. This spike in member numbers happened during the debate on unanaesthetised ritual slaughter and during the Growing Resistance movement against Bleker's new nature act.”

Anja Hazekamp was sworn in last Tuesday as a Member of Parliament to cover my pregnancy leave. She has already made her opinion on State Secretary Bleker's hunting policy perfectly clear in a fantastic opinion piece. Go Anja!

Anja Hazekamp

We've had a wonderful message from Brazil, in which the Brazilian radio station called 'compliments us on our work. I would therefore like to tip my hat to said radio station in return. Hopefully they will reach huge numbers of people in Brazil and Portugal with their animal-friendly message!

The House, on the Party for the Animals' request, will shortly debate the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Rosenthal on illegal Japanese whale hunting and the legal case against Dutch Sea Shepherd volunteer, Erwin Vermeulen. It appears to us, based on answers to our earlier questions, that the cabinet want nothing whatsoever to do with Erwin's arrest. They're equally silent on the Japanese whaling fleet's dangerous actions – throwing grappling hooks at people in a rubber boat


Erwin Vermeulen

The court case against Erwin started on Thursday in the Japanese city of Wakayama. He has been held, as I told you in last week's Worldlog, since 16 December 2011, because he allegedly pushed a Japanese hotel staff member while photographing the transport of captured dolphins.

We suspect that Vermeulen has fallen victim to the political sparring match between Japan and the Netherlands about what happens at sea. The Sea Shepherd flies under a Dutch flag. Japan complains every year to the Netherlands when this organisation hinders their whale hunt.

We held our 'The Cove' benefit performance yesterday – we organised this afternoon to raise money for Erwin's legal costs. Esther Ouwehand was there, and I'll tell you more about it in next week's Worldlog!