Postelection reflection: shorttermism and optimism

Friday, 8 May, 2015

Disbelief and disappointment; that in 2015 a nation of so-called animal lovers elects a party whose policies for non-human animals are either non-existent or abysmal.

While some Conservatives may be compassionate voices for the most vulnerable in society in a climate in which no politial party puts into practice what is truly required, the track record of the party is appalling.

The people of Britain seem to have spoken: let us hunt more foxes, deer, pheasants and other animals; let us have our entertainment while non-domesticated animals suffer in circuses; let us continue to prop up industries exploiting farmed animals, which causes immense suffering to nearly a billion land animals and many millions of fish in the UK alone; let us not worry about tomorrow when climate change is one step closer; and let us be the boss of our own mismanagement of health – no need to reform the health system to focus on healthy lifestyles and prevention.

No, let us instead be concerned about economic growth at all cost, at the expense of vulnerable people, other animals and the environment. We do not have any room in our hearts to care about the plight of others. We need to fend for ourselves and get a bigger share of the pie, before the magpie gets it.

Yes, I am saddened but not deterred. If anything, we should continue to engage with the elected MPs and show them that we expect, even demand, a compassionate society – a community where the interests of other animals and the environment are respected, a nation that was once the bedrock of progressive policies for other animals, leading the way in the world of animal protection, becomes a leader again.

Moreover, we will need to influence MEPs, as most agriculture and related regulations originate in Europe and will have to be implemented in the UK. The EU budget was set before the 2014 European Parliament Elections, which means that the current MEPs have to implement this, and their room for change may be somewhat limited. However, there is scope for progress. The second Pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy, the rural development policy, offers hope in reforming agriculture, making it more sustainable, focuses on preserving and enhancing ecosystems, and promotes a shift towards a low-carbon economy.

Vegan momentum is taking hold in Europe, perhaps even overtaking the UK. I will be attending a fruit and vegetables policy conference in Milan in June, organised by the French Aprifel & Interfel ‘Fruit et Légume’ professional and research organisations. MEPs, research organisations and academics, public health officials, and not-for-profit organisations will discuss how we can live healthier lives incorporating more fruit and veg. That’s an exciting prospect.

We need to continue to strongly pursue our agenda of promoting compassion for other animals, lowering our carbon footprint and encouraging healthier diets and lifestyles. Are you with me? Hell yes!

By Jasmijn de Boo, CEO of

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