‘Animals Can’t Vote, But You Can’: Animal Political Parties Unite For European Elections

Six animal parties have candidates standing the elections


3 Minutes Read

Anja Hazekamp, Dutch Party for the Animals Animal Politics EU wants take on Europe's massive animal agriculture industry - Media Credit: Animal Politics EU

A group of political parties have united to put animals front and center in the upcoming European Parliament elections in June.

Read more: Shift Funding From Animal Agriculture, Says EU Science Board

Six animal rights parties from Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, France, Cyprus, and Spain have joined together as “Animal Politics EU: a European Movement Representing Animals.” A candidate from each party will stand in the elections, using the campaign slogan “Animals can’t vote, but you can.” The elections take place from June 6 to June 9.

In its manifesto, the group lays out its vision for representing animal interests in EU decision-making and its policy priorities. These include reducing numbers of farmed animals, ending animal testing, and closing all fur farms. According to Animal Politics EU, polls indicate its members will gain two to four seats.

Changing farming in the EU

Anja Hazekamp and others protest live animal exports
Animal Politics EU The political group wants to ban the cruellest farming practices such as live animal export

With 8.4 billion animals slaughtered for meat each year in the EU, they feature heavily in Animal Politics EU’s manifesto. The group aims to reduce the number of animals farmed in Europe by 75 percent. It also aims to outlaw the cruelest practices such as live transport, cages, and slaughter without stunning. It will campaign for the EU’s substantial animal agriculture subsidies to be redirected to “sustainable plant-based farming.”

Read more: More Than Half Of Europeans Are Cutting Down Meat, Study Finds

The group aims to build a “strong countermovement” against the recent watering down of EU agricultural policies. In response to farmers’ protests, policies such as emissions reductions targets for agriculture have been scrapped or postponed.

“Corporate lobbyists are putting lots of effort and money into sabotaging EU measures for the protection of nature, animals and our climate,” Anja Hazekamp, current MEP for the Dutch Party for the Animals, said in a statement. “Previously announced measures, such as the EU ban on caging farmed animals, have been postponed. The Pesticide Reduction Law was taken off the table, and the Nature Restoration Law is still awaiting final approval. A strong voice representing the interests of animals and our planet is more important now than ever before, in order to safeguard a liveable future for all beings, whether human or animal.”

Protecting other persecuted animals

The manifesto states commitments to protecting animals in many other contexts besides farming. Animal Politics EU aims to end hunting of wild animals and the use of animals in entertainment, such as bullfighting. It proposes cracking down on the illegal pet trade and tackling overfishing. It also aims to create strictly protected marine sanctuaries in 30 percent of the oceans.

The group says its underlying ideology is to base policies on a long-term view that prioritizes “the entire planet and all its inhabitants.” This is “fundamentally” different from how politics currently functions in the EU parliament, where other parties focus on short-term fixes to mounting global crises, says the group.

Read more: ‘Food For Profit’: The New Documentary On Factory Farming In Europe

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