March has been a month of hope. On the 10th of March, the Party for the Animals joined 40,000 others on the street to call for a strong and fair climate policy during the largest Climate March in the Netherlands ever. The fact that so many people were willing to face the cold and the rain on their free Sunday, demonstrates the growing concerns about the future of our planet. Despite the freezing cold, standing between all those thousands of people was a heart-warming experience. In the Lower House of Parliament, we will keep pressuring the government to establish real policies for a habitable planet.
Marianne Thieme during the Dutch Climate March
The want for change also became very clear from the results of the recent Dutch Provincial and Water Board Elections. The Party for the Animals has grown again in all municipalities, and has gained a number of 4 new seats in total. This is what growing opposition looks like! In the meantime, we have started preparations for our next elections: the European Elections in May, for which we will be working with our 10 European sister parties. Operating under the name “Animal Politics EU”, we have published a collective manifesto. In early April, the manifesto was officially signed in the European Parliament in Brussels by all our European sister parties and presented to the press. Together we will fight against the horrible animal transport and the use of pesticides in the agricultural sector, and advocate truly sustainable, plant-based farming. According to opinion polls, our movement in the European Parliament will likely be tripled!
“Animal Politics EU” presents collective manifesto in Brussels
At the invitation of Bosnian environmental and animal welfare organisations, I had the honour of arguing a definitive ban on fur farms in the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the beginning of the month. Bosnia intends to postpone the entry into force of the national fur farming ban until the year 2028. Local and international organisations are doing everything in their power to prevent this delay, as it would result in ten more years of the unspeakable and unnecessary suffering and death of millions of animals in the fur industry. On top of that, the fur industry has a major impact on the environment as well as on the health of people employed in the industry or living nearby. That is why I have embraced the invitation to address the Bosnian Parliament, hoping, together with the other speakers, to convince the MPs of the importance of a definitive ban. It should be entered into force as soon as possible! Make fur history! You can find my entire speech here.
Marianne in the Bosnian Parliament
This year will be an exciting year for many of our sister parties. In addition to the upcoming European Elections, parliamentary elections will take place in Spain on 28 April followed by the municipal elections on 26 May, in Australia federal elections will be held on 18 May and in Portugal, parliamentary elections will take place in October. In order to support our sister parties, I will visit Portugal and Spain this week to show them our new documentary #Powerplant and to speak to citizens about possible ways of restructuring our food system. I will be in Portugal next Thursday, 18 April, with Francisco Guerreiro, European election candidate for our Portuguese sister party. On 21 April, I will be in Spain with Silvia Barquero, my Spanish colleague and candidate for our Spanish sister party. If you happen to be near Porto or Madrid on these days, please come and see me or invite your Spanish and Portuguese friends. I am looking forward to it very much!
Mark Pearson, MP for our Australian sister party Animal Justice Party, will speak at Turkey’s very first vegan festival Didim Vegfest next Friday, 19 April. Among other things, he will discuss the shocking Australian documentary Dominion, and our international political movement for animal rights. Mark was invited by Turkish animal rights campaigners who do amazing work for the animals in their country and with whom we have a pleasant relationship. Wonderful to see the heroes from our international movement work together to make a positive change for our planet and all its inhabitants!
Finally, I would like to share this article from the Guardian, explaining the importance of Scottish lawyer Polly Higgins’ initiative to make serious environmental damage – ecocide – an international crime. This includes major oil spills, deforestation, shale gas extraction, and stock depletion in the North Sea. Higgins’ goal is to make ecocide the fifth crime to be tried before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. At the moment, this court exercises jurisdiction over four types of crime: crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Time to add crimes against our planet to that list!
Until next time,