As announced in my previous Worldlog, I held an international lecture at the University of Leiden, Campus The Hague, on the 22nd of June last. The lecture was completely sold out and the hall was full of people of all ages, from all corners of the world: from Morocco and Turkey to Australia and Canada. And of course: The Netherlands! Our sister parties were also our guests. At the lecture I emphasised the important role of our growing international political movement, which is making a change to traditional politics and introducing a new type of politics. One that no longer focuses on people but on the planet and all its inhabitants. It gave me great energy to be together with so many like-minded people, to speak with them and to listen to them, and to further shape our beautiful movement.
All (emerging) parties for the animals together in a photo at the lecture in The Hague
Last week, it was exactly one hundred years ago that Suze Groeneweg was the first woman to become a member of the Dutch Lower House. She was elected on the 3rd of July 1918 and became a member of the Lower House, among 99 men. For the occasion of this jubilee, I wore a special dress with the text ‘What are you doing here?’ That is the question that Groeneweg and other women fighting for women’s suffrage were often asked by men in politics around 1920. With my dress I wanted to ask for attention for the number of women in Parliament that is still low. The question ‘What are you doing here?’ is still current today. Our party is still frequently asked the same question by traditional politicians.
With her dress Marianne Thieme asks for attention for the small number of women in politics
Last week, a research of the Utrecht University Medical Centre and the Netherlands Heart Institute confirmed what the Party for the Animals has been trying to point out for a long time already: most animal tests are useless. They do not lead to the successful treatment of ill people. Additionally, many tests are not performed adequately because of time pressure and tests that have already been performed before are repeated. This makes that more animals have to suffer and die. The Party for the Animals wants the government to invest more in the development of animal-test free techniques and to phase out animal tests quickly, so that all animal tests will stop.
The myth that animal welfare in the Netherlands is good is gradually invalidated by research and undercover operations. Research by the Dutch news channel RTL recently showed gruesome abuses in Dutch slaughterhouses: pigs which are drowning into boiling hot water, screaming and struggling fiercely, and calves and sheep which were skinned alive. When similar horrifying abuses came to light in Belgian slaughterhouses, the Dutch government and meat industry responded adamantly that such abuses are not occurring in Dutch slaughterhouses. As always, they immediately took the livestock industry into protection instead of the animals themselves.
Duck breeding industry (Photo: Animal Rights)
Last week, the organisation Animal Rights also brought shocking practices in Dutch duck breeding farms to light: animals are trampled to death and struck to death against the stable wall. When loading for transport to the slaughterhouse, the ducks are throttles and kicked. The pain that is inflicted on defenceless ducks by the meat industry is indescribable and unacceptable. We immediately raised Parliamentary questions about this. Duck breeding farms should be banned.
But the meat lobby keeps attempting to keep a grip on politics in any possible way. For example, the annual barbecue was held last week near one of the buildings of the Lower House to treat the Members of the Parliament to meat and drinks. The Party for the Animals finds it unacceptable that such shameless lobby activities are conducted near a building of the Parliament. A product that causes so much animal suffering and is called “the most environmental harmful part of our food package” by scientists and also by the cabinet, and that is an obstacle to achieving the Paris climate objectives, should not be the starting-point of such event.
Party for the Animals’ parliamentary group at the Climate and Animal Friendly Parliamentary Barbecue
That is why we were very happy again with the Climate and Animal Friendly Barbecue at the square in front of the Lower House building. It is a positive counterpart to the irresponsible meat eating feast. At the initiative of the Foundation “An Animal A Friend”, the Members of Parliament were introduced to delicious vegan hamburgers. A wonderful message and a great way to let politicians and the broader public know that it is also possible to have nice food and a pleasant time without having to kill animals. We also enjoyed the delicious bites. As Lofti El Hamidi, editor of NRC – a large Dutch newspaper – said: “Why do we still eat meat? It is actually no longer justified.”
Finally, a nice success for our Rotterdam parliamentary group: Thanks to a motion by the Party for the Animals, the Municipality of Rotterdam, the second biggest municipality of the Netherlands, will get an alderman responsible for animal welfare. A very important step on the way to more attention for animal interests in the municipality!
This is the last Worldlog prior to the recess. There will be a new Worldlog at the end of August.
Have a great summer!