What about non-human animals?
Vet tech majors care passionately about animals. They are making a huge personal commitment of time and effort to improve the lives and prospects of animals. What does that have to do with politics?
But that was only one of several efforts in Congress and elsewhere to dismantle the nation’s system of more than 560 wildlife refuges and 38 wetlands totaling about 150 million acres of land and water. Opponents of federal land ownership also want to dispose of hundreds of millions of acres of forests and rangelands owned by the American people. If they succeed, not even the national parks will be safe.
The lawmakers behind these attacks are determined, as they put it, to “reduce the federal estate” and give these public lands to cash-hungry states or territories, where they could be leased, drilled, logged or sold to the highest bidder.
The Netherlands has a political party called Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren; PvdD). They have two seats in the Dutch lower house of parliament, one seat in the Dutch upper house, and one seat in the European parliament. Their main focus is animal rights and animal welfare.
Their list of issues is exhaustive (in Dutch; use Google Translate) and their influence is prodigious. From personal experience, I can tell you that the Netherlands isn’t quite heaven for domestic and wild animals. But it is way above the clouds. Maybe I’m just a biased animal lover, so let’s look at three bits of empirical data.
1: The 2012 London Olympics had six events for equestrians. Eighteen medals were awarded to six different countries, including the Netherlands. Dutch-bred horses won 11 of these medals, including five of the six gold.
The Dutch countryside is full of beautiful, healthy horses.
2: The Netherlands has a national network of Dierenambulances (animal ambulances) that function exactly like the people ambulance system.
3: At the website of the World Animal Protection, you can explore the Animal Protection Index
The Animal Protection Index establishes a classification of 50 countries around the world according to their commitments to protect animals and improve animal welfare in policy and legislation.
You can choose three countries to compare. Try our three: U.S., Australia, Netherlands.
The Netherlands is graded higher than the other two. Much of that is due to the passions of people who vote for the Party for the Animals.
The way animals are treated in the Netherlands is the result of options their society has chosen politically. The way animals are treated in the U.S. is the results of our political process, too. What other options do we have?
- What are the four U.S. parties proposing to promote animal rights and welfare?
- What options did the Australian and Dutch societies choose instead?
- What do you think we should do? Why?
The U.S. has a party of vegans who in 2009 started political party similar to the Dutch PvdD called The Humane Party. Their 2016 presidential candidate is Clifton Roberts.