Party watch: the PvdD wants to slash livestock numbers


The Netherlands goes to the polls on November 22 to elect a new government and 26 parties are taking part in the campaign. Small but loud pro-animal party Partij voor de Dieren, whose leader Esther Ouwehand seems to have weathered the internal party storm around her “integrity”, is in favour of radical change, particularly when it comes to the environment.

Campaign leader: Esther Ouwehand
Seats in parliament: 6
The Partij voor de Dieren (Party for Animals) was established in 2002 and claims to be the first mainstream political party in the world to put animal rights first. It was founded by Marianne Thieme, a Seventh Day Adventist, who stood down in 2019 and was hit by bitter infighting at the start of the campaign this time round. Polls had suggested the party could win up to 10 seats, but their hopes may have been dented by the recent bloody struggle over who is top dog. Website

Main points from the manifesto:

  • Effort need to remove the sources of migration, cancellation of “refugee deals”
  • Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Groningen airports must close immediately
  • Increase in the minimum wage to €16 per hour in 2027
  • Animal rights to be rooted in the constitution, ministry for animal welfare
  • Speed up training for green jobs to carry out transition measures, NL climate neutral in 2030
  • Dental care to be included in the basic health package
  • Dutch cattle herd to be cut by 25% in two years
  • Use freed-up farmland for sustainable housing for groups who need it most
  • Tax increase for high earners, wage increase for teachers and free childcare

The formerly single-issue party, usually firmly ensconced in the opposition, is currently polling at a respectable 6 to 8 seats and is now willing to take government responsibility. Ouwehand, who said she would not be minister, has said she will work with “courageous” politicians and, would not rule out a coalition with the right-wing liberal VVD.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation