Happy new year to you all! 2017 was an eventful year, with many highlights. We won five seats during the elections for the Lower House and our number of members increased incredibly quickly. Our motion for compulsory camera monitoring in Dutch slaughterhouses was successful. This motion was the result of the shocking pictures of ill-treated pigs in a slaughterhouse in Belgium.
Also in the European Parliament, the Party for the Animals fought successfully for more protective measures for the North Sea to stop overfishing. Furthermore, a majority of the European Parliament agreed with us that Norway had to be called to stop the commercial hunting for whales.
Representatives of European sister parties meet in The Hague
2017 also showed that the worldwide movement of our planet and all its inhabitants is still growing. Our sister parties in Germany and Portugal were very successful at the national and local elections. Our Spanish sister party obtained 38,000 votes at the thrilling elections in Catalonia and the Animal Welfare Party in the United Kingdom gained one seat in local politics. In December, we held consultations with our European sister parties to discuss European cooperation on the way to the EU elections in 2019. It became evident that there is a great chance that several parties for the animals will obtain seats in the European Parliament. Extremely proud of our borderless, growing resistance!
The PftA finds cooperation with sympathisers in other countries of crucial importance, since the topics of animal welfare, nature and the environment are transboundary. That is why a delegation of our party travelled to Spain, Morocco and the Ukraine in 2017, where we met many people who stand up for animals, nature and the environment. On 10 December, Karen Soeters, the director of our scientific agency, spoke during the International Animal Rights Day in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev about the importance of a strong emancipation movement for animal rights and our planet. There were twenty different NGOs, journalists and many young people. Encouraging to see.
Karen Soeters gives a lecture in Kiev
Furthermore, I also gave a lecture at the agricultural university of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, at the invitation of the Homeless Pets Help Organization. In Tiblisi, I put the importance of animal rights and the abolition of the livestock industry on the map and told them that commitment to the welfare of animals also means commitment to humans.
2017 brought good news from all over the world. Taiwan became the first country in Asia with a legal prohibition on dog and cat meat and the use of animals in circuses was rapidly prohibited in increasingly more countries worldwide. In Croatia, a major march was held for animal rights and our senator Christine Teunissen supported the march with a video message. Turkish animal rights activists courageously took to the streets in Istanbul last year to demand better protection of animals.
Croats demonstrating for animal rights
Also 2018 made a good start by prohibiting the fur industry in Norway. Last year I spoke in the Norwegian capital of Oslo during the largest European march against the fur industry there. Additionally, the organisation Sanctuaire de la Faune de Tanger (SFT) from the Moroccan city of Tanger succeeded in persuading the local government to make investments in the animal-friendly dealing with stray animal populations. As from now, they will no longer kill stray animals!
Our European parliamentary group was happy with the prohibition of controversial pulse fishing. The Dutch government, who lobbied heavily for full legislation of pulse fishing, which uses electricity, was very dissatisfied. This so-called electric fishing implies imprudent risk taking for sea life. Considering that 88% of the species of fish is overfished and 30% can most likely not recover, sustainable (pulse) fishing is still a fairy tale. Last week, it also became known that the European Parliament will set up a special committee, partly at our request, to review the admission procedure in respect of the harmful pesticide glyphosate. Our party will not give up the fight against this pesticide and will contest its admission before the European Court.
Marianne with television producers from South Korea
Lastly, I had a pleasant visit from television producers from South Korea. They are working on an in-depth documentary on the livestock industry and they were interested in the Party for the Animals’ vision. I had a wonderful conversation with them and I am looking forward to seeing the result. To be continued!
Until the next time,