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Sweden: First vegan MEP enters office next fallSwedish animal rights activist Jens Holm will soon be the first vegan to enter office in the European Parliament. When his predecessor from the Swedish Left Party steps down from his appointment next fall, new MEP Holm is determined to bring the animal rights message into the largest elected body in Europe.
Formerly a Press Officer for Animal Rights Sweden, Jens Holm is an ethical vegan and long-time defender of animals. After leaving Sweden's largest animal rights organization in 2002, Holm has been acting as the Press Officer for the Left Party in Stockholm.
Holm ran as the party's third candidate for the European Parliament in the 2004 elections, where he just barely missed out on a seat in Parliament. But now, when the party's first candidate, Jonas Sjöstedt, has decided to leave his position for personal reasons, Holm will replace his colleague from next fall.
Holm campaigned hard on several animal rights issues during the 2004 campaign. And that is an agenda he is determined to bring to the highest political level in Europe. We caught up with Jens Holm to ask a few questions on his plans.
Q Is it really possible to influence the European Union's policies on animals as an MEP?
A "Absolutely! But the EU is a bureaucratical monster, and one has to be focused and pursue one's goals with determination. One also has to remember that it's important to influence the national level as well. As an MEP you can also campaign for changes in Sweden. I will definitely do that. Far too few politicians are speaking for the animals."
QWhich issues would you identify as the most important to work on as an MEP-- from the animals' perspective?
A "Ending live transports. The subsidies for this cruel trade must be abolished, and a maximum time limit must be introduced and enforced. Without exception. Member states must also be allowed to establish even stricter rules within their own borders--including bans on certain transports--if they want to. I also want an end to other subsidies for the production of animal foods. The subsidies support an industry that is cruel, environmentally unsound and economically irrational."
A "I also want to initiate a broader discussion about meat consumption. Is it rational and ethically acceptable that we now consume more meat than ever in world history? I hope that I, as a vegan MEP, can contribute to pushing this debate to it's next stage. That discussion is sorely needed!"
Q What will be your first political action when you come into office?
A "I want to see a review over the subsidies to the animal industries. Contrary to what many others are saying I believe that these subsidies have increased, not decreased, lately--partly due to the recent EU enlargement."
Phone: +46 70 472 95 19
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Other EVANA-articles about this topic:
MEP Awards 2008: Jens Holm (GUE/NGL) shortlisted under the environment category (en)
EU: 'The livestock sector - a major culprit in destruction of the environment' (en)
The livestock industry and climate – EU makes bad worse (en)