Last weekend, thousands of people across the globe took to the streets to join the so-called Animal Rights March. Their purpose? To put an end to all forms of animal exploitation. The March took place in several countries such as Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Philippines, Canada, Australia, Greece, the United States, Norway and the Netherlands. The representatives of several parties for the animals joined the march in their own countries to send a strong political signal.
Party for the Animals MP Esther Ouwehand at the Animal Rights March in Amsterdam
Party for the Animals MP Esther Ouwehand addressed the crowd during the Dutch Animal Rights March, outlining a future without animal exploitation as the logical and inevitable step towards social justice. However, the road to justice is not an easy one:
“Each generation has its own social justice movement, challenging us to show the world what we are worth as human beings. The social movement for animal rights is our movement.
And like with any justice movement, there is one group that leads the way. A group that has gained awareness, that is not afraid to feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way society treats a certain group – human or animal. Through history, the fate of pioneers has always been the same: being the exception in their environment, they face a lot of misunderstanding, resistance and even aggression.”
However, Ouwehand is also positive:
“It may be hard sometimes, but first and foremost, being a pioneer is incredibly cool. No matter what the world thinks, or how much resistance you are faced with – you listen to your heart and stand for what you know deep inside: that there is no excuse for the unnecessary use, suffering and killing of animals. Remaining true to your deepest values gives enormous strength. And guess what: there are more and more people like you. With the Animal Rights March, we are showing the world that the movement for animal rights is strong and unstoppable – and growing by the day.”
Growing political movement for animal rights
The Dutch Party for the Animals is part of a growing movement committed to the interests of animals through politics and in society. Worldwide, there are now 19 parties fighting to change the food system and make animal rights an essential part of the democratic process. They do this from a planet-wide vision considering the interests of people, animals, nature and the environment in conjunction with one another.
Representatives of parties for the animals during Animal Rights March (Swedish Djurens parti, German Partei Mensch Umwelt Tierschutz, Canadian Animal Protection Party and Dutch Party for the Animals)
Large-scale suffering and destruction
Worldwide, over 70 billion animals are kept for the production of meat. That number becomes significantly higher when we count fish and the animals used for clothing or experiments. All those animals live in terrible conditions and, being seen as mere products, are unable to exhibit natural behaviour. There are even products that receive better protection than animal. Toilet paper in the Netherlands is better protected against fires than chickens, cows and pigs.
The way we treat animals also seriously jeopardises the future of our planet. A recent study carried out by the universities of Zurich and Oxford revealed that agriculture is a sector that contributes heavily to all major environmental problems. Woodland the size of several football fields is cleared every minute, air, soil and water are seriously polluted, and our water supply is endangered – all for the production of animal products. “A vegan diet is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental footprint – even more so than cutting down on your number of flights or driving an electric car,” say the scientists.