Politicians are crazy about majorities; majorities to form coalitions, majorities to reach your goals, majorities to turn your views into policy. But we humans are by no means the majority. A recent research of a group of leading international scientists, led by Prof. Ron Milo of the Weizman Institute of Sciences, shows that humanity behaves like a plague for all other life forms on earth, while the 7.6 billion people who populate the earth, only account for 0.01% of all life on earth. If any other species would do as much damage as humanity does, we would do everything to get rid of it, right away. We are already doing so with species that are literally of vital importance for our own survival: We combat insects with pesticides on a large scale, endangering our own lives as well, even though this will only in time become relevant.
Only a respectful approach towards other life forms on earth can provide us with a sustainable future. Although we are aware of this, we apparently do not realize it sufficiently. Since the beginning of our civilization, 83% of all wild mammals and half of all plants have been exterminated due to human intervention. The transformation of life on earth is best manifested through the total restructuring of its biodiversity -or the lack of it.
Take birds for example. The worldwide consumption of chicken rose explosively with the arrival of the bio-industry after the Second World War. Nowadays, the domesticated chicken is the most numerous bird species worldwide, with a total number of around 60 billion birds. Farmed poultry represents 70% of all birds on our planet, meaning that only 30% of all birds are still wild. And at least half of the chicken breeds have since been lost because the poultry industry mostly focuses on the production of factory-farmed chickens. This small number of breeds is a risk in itself when it comes to genetic defects. In addition to the extreme number of chickens that are kept, the excessive use of antibiotics and the large-scale infection with pathogens also pose a great risk to public health. And according to scientists, zoonoses can lead to a pandemic of unprecedented proportions.
Professor Jan Zalasiewicz, geologist at the University of Leicester, says the following about the factory-farmed chicken, being the most important evidence for a new era, the Anthropocene, dominated by humankind as the most determining factor: “The factory-farmed chicken has become the world’s most common bird. It has been fossilized in thousands of rubbish dumps and street corners around the world.” The way we live now is mainly focused on maximizing our prosperity in the short term. Our ecological footprint is so large that all raw materials and consumables that our earth can provide in one year run out mid-August each year. The rest of the year we live on credit, taking an irresponsible advance on an uncertain future. In the medium and long term, this way of life will not only threaten our well-being, but our survival chances as a species.
But humanity -that 0.01%- is so much focused on itself, that almost all political parties uphold short-term human interests as the starting point of determining their policies. Animals, nature and the environment are only addressed when all short-term human desires are fulfilled, and that is rarely the case. In Canada, this has been shown by how the government subsidizes and promotes the animal agricultural industry, even as it degrades our environment, our health, and causes tremendous suffering to hundreds of millions of animals each year.
In 2006, for the first time in history, a political party was elected into a national parliament that declared the interests of non-humans as starting point of their way of thinking. The Party for the Animals was then elected into the Dutch Parliament with two representatives. At this moment, that number has grown to five members in the Parliament, two members in the Senate, 18 in Provincial Councils, 15 on Water Boards, 33 in Municipal Councils and one in the European Parliament.
In international terms, the concept of animal advocacy parties is also one of the fastest growing new political movements, based on protecting the interests of the weakest against the alleged right of the strongest. That is, in the interest of the voiceless, but also in the interests of that tiny, but very dominant minority composed of human beings. The right to control and subdue other species until death follows knows no justification. People have in no way the rights of the eldest on our planet and our intelligence cannot be seen as the decisive reason for our self-declared supremacy.
As earthlings, we have every reason to reconsider our interaction with animals, nature and the environment. Never has there been such an ímpetus for a revolution of mind. The Animal Protection Party of Canada faces such an offensive for civilization: to give a voice to the 99.99%, also in the interest of the 0.01%.
There are now 19 animal advocacy parties worldwide. The Animal Protection Party of Canada is one of them. Our ambition is to stand up for all living beings around the world, including those beings who are still seen by humans as property, underdogs, or livestock, though they are of essential importance to make our lives worthwhile.
Liz White – Leader
Jordan Reichert – West Coast Officer
Animal Protection Party of Canada
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