European Greens Co-Chair Thomas Waitz was in Poznań, Poland, on Friday 15 October as part of the Polish Green Recovery Tour which underlines the need for post-COVID-19 recovery to contribute to a just and sustainable ecological transition. Organised by the European Green Party in cooperation with the Polish Greens (Partia Zieloni), the tour is held in 16 cities in Poland.
Waitz discussed the European Green Party's vision for the post-COVID-19 recovery with the Polish Greens and attended a panel discussion on animal rights in the city with representatives from the local animal shelter and rehabilitation zoo, members of the Polish Greens, and animal rights NGOs. They addressed issues such as long-distance animal transport, the harmful impact of hunting on the natural environment, the use of animals in circuses, and unnecessary research on animals.
At a press conference, the Polish Green Party announced the next stage of its program of rebuilding Poland and Europe after the COVID-19 pandemic. Małgorzata Tracz, Member of Parliament of the Polish Greens and Co-Chair of the Polish Greens and Michał Stasiak, Co-Chair of the Polish Greens in Poznań, highlighted that Partia Zieloni is "the only party that considers the protection of animals - domestic, wild and farmed." Stasiak highlighted the impact of banning circus performances featuring animals, and Tracz announced the submission of a draft ban on breeding for fur.
📰 Za nami konferencja prasowa o #ZielonyŁad w Poznaniu. Partia @Zieloni jest jedyną partią, która bierze pod uwagę ochronę zwierząt - domowych, dzikich i hodowlanych. Dlatego do końca tego roku złożę w Sejmie projekt zakazujący hodowli na futra 🦊 pic.twitter.com/JrMKSQfTUa— Małgorzata Tracz (@GoTracz) October 15, 2021
Thomas Waitz also met with representatives of animal rights NGOs Open Cages (Otwarte Klatki). and Viva Foundation! Action For Animal (Fundacja Viva!) for an exchange. As part of his work in the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals, he investigates the conditions of live animal transportation in Europe. Waitz spoke on the need for more robust policy on animal rights in order #endthecageage and stop needless suffering in the transportation of live animals. He stated:
"I personally deal with the issue of transporting animals over long distances, which causes them great suffering. We all saw this suffering during the pandemic, when hundreds of animal shipments were stuck at closed borders. We must conclude from a pandemic that we cannot always rely on long supply chains. We should eat locally produced food to support small local farmers and ensure animal welfare"
Sebastian Duks, the representative of Open Cages, stated:
"Industrial agriculture is a business that animals suffer from, and people who live in the vicinity of industrial agricultural plants suffer. The activities of these companies pollute our air and groundwater, while the prices of nearby real estates fall and agritourism collapses."
In the evening, Waitz participated in a panel discussion with Małgorzata Tracz and Michał Stasiak as well as Malwina Malinowska, Coordinator of the local branch of the Viva Foundation and Ewa Zgrabczyńska, Zoologist and Director of Poznań's new zoo. They spoke about the changes needed in Polish and European law to protect and expand animal rights.
The Polish Green Recovery Tour
Between 17 September and 11 November 2021, the Green Recovery Campaign is visiting every voivodeship in Poland with a street exhibition on key topics of the Coronavirus Recovery: Let's build a better tomorrow! resolution of the European Greens. Public panels and side meetings are organised in each city alongside the exhibition. So far, we have already held events in Warsaw, Lublin, Rzeszów, and Kraków!
Each debate features a topic that is relevant to post-pandemic recovery in Europe and Poland and will host national and international speakers, including Members of the European and national parliaments, EGP committee members, mayors, academia, NGOs, activists and civil society. All local and regional chapters are being represented in what is a cross-country effort in collaboration with civil society.