Europe’s Animal Welfare Party Could Make History This Week
The Animal Welfare Party is trying to make history for animals in Europe, and, by extension, the world.
It’s the first time in recorded history that seven animal protection parties from across Europe are working together to win political representation in the EU Parliament in order to help animals. They call themselves “the Euro Animal 7,” and they hail from Germany, Spain, the UK, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands and Cyprus.
If Europe changes its laws involving animals, then their trade agreements will be affected. The conditions for animals from outside of Europe could benefit from new agreements since the EU is the “world’s biggest market.”
Their ultimate goal is to improve the lives of animals, but humans and the environment can also benefit from their work. While all seven animal protection parties work under the same umbrella, each party has its own focus. Here are a few of the priorities underpinning the vision:
- Reallocate EU subsidies that fund big business (e.g. livestock and fishing farming) to plant-based crops and agriculture. Per the Euro Animal 7, the EU is spending 50 billion euros every year, right now.
- Encourage plant-based eating in public health and educational initiatives.
- Object to the creation and import of GMO crops.
- Elevate the moral and legal status of Europe’s domestic, wild, livestock and research animals.
- Gradually change current farming systems and practices that unnecessarily and inhumanely compromise animal welfare.
- Put an end to live animal export.
- Change animal research by phasing out current practices and replace them with well-funded and thoroughly researched alternatives.
- Stop cultural and traditional European practices that inflict unnecessary harm on animals (e.g., bull fighting and foie gras).
- End subsidies that do unnecessary harm to animals (e.g., the current EU subsidy for raising bulls exclusively for bullfighting is 129.6 million euros every year).
- See that current animal protection laws are properly enforced across the EU.
Who Likely Won‘t Be Voting For the Euro Animal 7
Anyone profiting from one or more of the industries that the Euro Animal 7 is seeking to eradicate or improve for animals will unlikely give them their vote. Industrialized farming, medical research companies, companies that test their food, cosmetics and products on animals, the bullfighting industry, the foie gras industry, animal exporters and exporters of wildlife are just a few. Many small and mid-size farmers have expressed concern because they believe that their livelihoods could be compromised.
Yet, as reported in the Redford Times, Vanessa Hudson, the leader behind Britain’s Animal Welfare Party (AWP) , explains: “I don’t want to battle farmers. European funds could be used in a fairer way and we need to think about how we’re going to feed the world’s population – set to reach 9.1 billion by 2050.” For Hudson, meat and dairy aren’t viable long-term solutions for the world’s upcoming food problems.
Is it Wrong to Compare Speciesism to Other -Isms?
Some have expressed offense when speciesism, defined as the belief the humans are superior to other living beings, is compared to other -isms like racism or systems like slavery. Even though, if you think about it, being offended by a comparison could arguably be speciesist logic.
As reported in The Independent, Hudson tackled the issue by acknowledging that some are offended by the comparison, but also saying that she “[doesn't] doubt that every movement in history has had that accusation levelled at it,” and “that it’s a social justice campaign as important as any other.” While she doesn’t believe that animals should be given certain human rights, it boils down to the “right to live, and live without undue suffering.”
We’ll see if animal welfare or speciesism will prevail this Thursday, May 22, at the 2014 EU elections. If even one representative from the Euro Animal 7 gets elected, then it would “send a huge signal to the rest of the world that man’s relationship with animals and the environment is changing.” Please sign and share this petition if you want to give a voice to Europe’s animals.
Photo Credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis