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A Great Day for Marianne Thieme and her Animals

by Norwegian Chef Thu Nov 23rd, 2006 at 09:16:29 PM EST

True to their progressive nature, the Dutch electorate has been the first in the world to elect an "animal welfare party" into its National Parliament.  With the gaining of 2 seats in Parliament, the Partij voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals), which has been steadily growing since its founding in 2002, garnered 1.8% of the total primary vote.  

Their charismatic young leader, Marianne Thieme, has done a fantastic job in steering her young, progressive party toward this major electoral success.

Their Party Website is a very well done and great place for animal and wildlife lovers. Their main platform is as follows:

Party for the Animals

The Party for the Animals is a Dutch political party that aims to improve the position of animals in our society. The party was founded to promote an awareness of the way in which humans treat animals and to emphasise that this needs to change - in the interest of not only the animals themselves, but also humans and the environment in which we all live.

Party Platform
The Party for the Animals' platform is built around the belief that both animals and humans are living creatures with emotions and a conscience and therefore, animals have the right to be treated with respect by humans. This means that regardless of whether they are in the wild or are kept in farms or homes, animals should be able to live according to their own nature and not have their well-being affected by humans without reasonable or necessary reason. The party believes the extent to which a human society is `civilised' can be measured by the way in which its members treat other living creatures and the natural environment in general.

History of the Party for the Animals
The Party for the Animals was founded in October 2002 because the political environment in the Netherlands did not (and still does not) pay any attention to the interests of animals. Other political parties place concepts such as the economy, law and order, and integration above nature, the environment, and animal welfare. The Party for the Animals will give animal welfare the priority it deserves. Taking part in the political process provides the party with the opportunity of placing the legal protection of animals high on the political and social agenda and convincing other parties to support the interests of animals.

From the day it was founded, the number of people supporting the Party for the Animals' has continually grown. In January 2003 the party stood for the first time in a Dutch parliamentary election and received 0.5% of the votes (around 50,000 votes), which just fell short of the number required for a seat in the lower house of the national parliament. In 2004, the European Parliament elections saw the Party for the Animals receive 3.2% of the votes (around 153,000 votes), again coming close to winning a seat. In terms of membership numbers, the Party for the Animals was the fastest-growing political party in the Netherlands in 2005. This is unprecedented for a young party that has not even been elected to parliament yet.

In a number of other countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the UK, political parties similar to the Party for the Animals were recently set up, and opinion polls indicate that the Party for the Animals could potentially win 8% of the votes in the Netherlands. The Dutch political system is based upon proportional representation, which means that the heterogeneous character of the voting population is reflected in the make-up of parliament. On 22 November 2006, new parliamentary elections will take place in the Netherlands and these should see the Party for the Animals elected to the national parliament; it will be the first time in the world that a political party which champions the interests of animals has achieved this feat.

We are on the verge of an historical breakthrough in the campaign for animal rights. The success of the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands could gain international importance and thereby improve the lives of billions of animals. If you wish to assist us in our breakthrough, please send an e-mail to info@partijvoordedieren.nl Thank you very much for your support!

Even their logo is very sweet.

This is truly a fantastic result for progressive politics, green politics and especially for animals and wildlife.  May this be the start of a great trend to come in European and global politics.  As Ghandi noted, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated".


Thanks for giving us more info on this party, Norwegian Chef. I hope you don't mind me editing the photo of the party's leader. Lovely as Marianne is, for some reason the photo they put up on their web site is of large dimensions and weighs in at 5.7 Mb, which was taking time to load.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 02:57:34 AM EST
I am not so computer literate to tailor these things--I did not even notice any difference.

I tried to send you an email to get the hypertext layout for the translation section of the Ségolène Royal speech from your diary earlier this week as I wanted to post it on Kos and some other sites.  Not sure if the email went through.  I do not have the hypertext ability to set it out in the nice coloured columns.  Could you please send to me so I can spread the word.


I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Norwegian Chef (hephaestion@surfbirder.com) on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 03:08:34 AM EST
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Have now sent it off to you. Sorry for the delay -- I didn't check the afew mail account, which is a regular failing of mine...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 03:42:20 AM EST
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There's always her picture on the Dutch Wikipedia.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 03:13:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may already have seen this, but while following up some stuff on biofuels I came across this short paper (pdf) on Birdlife International. Echoing some of our concerns here about the sustainability of biofuel feedstock production, but obviously with special application to bird species diversity.

How is Australia gearing up for biofuel production, (if at all)?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 11:51:36 AM EST
Thanks, afew, for the html text.  It came through fine.  As for Biofuel in Australia, we are really a very small country (21 million) mostly in 3 major cities, with huge coal and natural gas reserves although not much crude oil.

Therefore, there is only modest incentive for biofuel although there is a small and growing industry that seems to be slowly making some inroads.

The Government has a Biofuel Task Force

Other than that I do not know much about it.

I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Norwegian Chef (hephaestion@surfbirder.com) on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 06:43:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's good to let animals have a vocal advocate (hell, a representative!) for their rights; I support that. I don't support in whole the party's ideology; it's gone unrealistic and even unfair to the existing regulation of some of the issues they rally against. Lab animal ethics and hunting practicing are already very tightly regulated within the Netherlands. But anything to get the situation in the bio-industry moving will have my backing.

In the meantime, we still have this idiot running amok:

BTW, how did you learn about this party?

by Nomad on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 05:11:23 PM EST
has revolved around animals and wildlife, so I think the Animal Party's positions are things that we as a human race should eventually aspire to both in hunting and animal testing, and in most other areas.  Although their party platform does call for long phase in times as a matter of practicality.

I learned about Marianne a few years back after she started the party as she is someone who has made quite s splash in Green and Animal Welfare circles, and for at least a year, it was thought by many that she had a serious chance to break into Parliament. Many in Australia have been discussing a similar party, although our Greens are very animal welfare oriented.  So I am not sure if this would happen.

Although I have never met her or know anyone close to her, the general scoop is that she combines intelligence, charisma, charm and is eminently likable as a person and politician.

She will certainly now become the "darling of the cause" worldwide I suspect given her success and her character.

As for Geert Wilders, I have never seen a picture of him where he wasn't having a bad hair day.  He seems to think the look is somehow attractive???  I really do not know much about him, but the Wiki article says he was born Catholic but has left the church.  If religion is not the motivation for people like him and Fortuyn--what then is their motivation for their odd policies.  Fortuyn's combination of gay, fascist and anti-environmentalist never made any sense to me.

I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Norwegian Chef (hephaestion@surfbirder.com) on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 06:32:24 PM EST
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I think we disagree on the final aspirations for both hunting and animal testing, even given long time phasing out schemes. A debate on this one day would be useful. I'm of the opinion that a total ban on hunting will ultimately be more harmful to the diversity of the environment than well endorsed regulated hunting.

I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from calling Fortuyn a fascist. It's a cheap shot - even if you strongly disagree with his views, they were not explicitly fascist, but largely based on the belief of cultural insurmountabilities. Quite a difference. Whatever the man was, he does not deserve that kind of label. He was murdered because of that stigma and it has brought the Netherlands only political instability.

by Nomad on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 07:10:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
more complicated than being able to justify any one label, depending on how you define fascism, some of his his policies  certainly had fascist elements (although he apparently was once a Communist).  But it largely comes down to a matter of semantics and definitions.  There is a great deal of good editorial out there on just what Fortuyn was (pro, con and neutral), and much of it is framed as to degree of fascism (or not) within his policies.  So to let him completely off the hook with some of his right wingnut ideas and somehwat brutal political style is also unfair. But I agree that it is all an arguable point.  

But to me the more interesting question is what motivates or drives right wing people like Fortuyn and Wilders in the absence of a driving religious obsession or major economic force. They seem to have odd combinations of policies and ideas that are rarely found in successful politicians anywhere else on the globe.  It really confounds me.

I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Norwegian Chef (hephaestion@surfbirder.com) on Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 10:19:32 PM EST
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