On 1 February 2023, the World Dog Alliance (WDA) started its visit to Oslo, after a two-day trip to Paris.
The Norwegians are very internationally minded and support the promotion of the International Agreement to Prohibit the Eating of Dogs and Cats, even though it is not a problem there. As the Norwegian government was about to enact a new animal welfare law, the WDA submitted a proposal to lobby for Norway’s accession to the International Agreement. The government is about to publish a white paper on the bill and the WDA is lobbying members of parliament to support it. In fact, the lobbying work has been ongoing and the trip has secured the support of both the government and opposition parties.
The WDA met with MP Tobias Linge, a 25-year-old member of the Labour Party, Norway’s largest ruling party, who is regarded as a rising star and has been appointed by the government to be responsible for the new animal welfare law.
Although the Labour Party is the largest party in Norway, it holds only about 26% of the seats at the legislature, and even when the Centre Party is brought together to form a ruling coalition, they do not hold the majority.
This is a typical minority government. Although it is less effective, it is good for WDA’s campaign, as the ruling coalition has to respect the stances of other small parties, so there is more room for some relatively non-mainstream issues, such as animal protection. The new animal welfare bill is a product of this background.
The main objective of this meeting with Tobias Linge was to gain the Labour Party’s support for the International Agreement and to include it in the White Paper.
Although animal protection is not a major policy objective of the Labour Party, Tobias Linge, as a younger generation with a more progressive and international outlook, appreciated the achievements of the WDA in the international arena and agreed that the launch of the International Agreement would be a no-cost initiative for the Norwegian government.
Tobias Linge said at the meeting that personally he was absolutely in favour of Norway joining the Agreement, and he believed that the Prime Minister would feel the same way, so he would be proposing the article on joining the International Agreement at a government meeting. However, politics is ever-changing and he could not make any promises.
That evening, the WDA met with Green Party MP Kristoffer Haug to discuss the International Agreement. He had attended previous WDA’s events in Norway and the atmosphere was more relaxed as we already knew each other. He pointed out that although Norway is not nominally part of the EU, it has often followed the EU’s lead in terms of environmental and animal protection policy, and that it would be a great help to Norway if Germany, the EU leader, could join the International Agreement.
The WDA is currently waiting for the government to issue a white paper, and hopes to see the International Agreement included in it.