They have earned a place in the candidates’ programs. Marginalized five years ago, animals and the suffering inflicted on them are now the subject of increased consideration by the contenders for the Elysée. In almost all of the projects, there is mention of the animal condition: from the most expeditious, Emmanuel Macron, who devotes only one line to it in twenty-four pages, to the most talkative, Yannick Jadot and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who devote entire chapters of their project to it. The campaign even saw the lawyer Hélène Thouy, invested by the Animalist Party, defend a program entirely focused on the defense of animals. If she did not obtain the 500 sponsorships required to appear before the French, her candidacy nevertheless contributed to making the subject more visible, leading her competitors to show their cards.
“This is the first campaign for which the animal condition is a theme on which candidates are expected”notes Melvin Josse, representative of the “Animal Engagement 2022” platform, which brings together around thirty animal protection NGOs (SPA, Brigitte Bardot Foundation, CIWF, Welfarm, etc.) associated to make common demands with candidates. “Until recently, we couldn’t really differentiate right and left, since neither side was really committedhe analyzes. However, during the past five years, part of the left, in particular La France insoumise (LFI) and Europe Ecologie-Les Verts (EELV), has clearly positioned itself for the animal cause. »
On the right and on the far right, the subject is defended by a few elected officials but causes embarrassment. “Their political apparatuses are struggling to position themselves, continues Mr. Josse, caught between a subject they perceive as important and the desire not to offend economic interests or part of their electorate. »
Marine Le Pen thus devotes thirteen pages of her program to animals in a specific thematic booklet, without getting involved in the field of hunting and breeding (except on the question of slaughter without stunning, which she wishes to prohibit ); Valérie Pécresse or Eric Zemmour say they want to fight against mistreatment and abandonment, but do not question the conditions of animal husbandry and firmly defend hunting: a “ancestral tradition (…) transmitted from father to son, from mother to daughter”, declared Valérie Pécresse before the National Federation of Hunters, Tuesday, March 22; a “French way of life” for Mr. Zemmour, who was speaking at the same “grand oral”. The latter, who does not hide his annoyance at the “animal activists”, also wishes to maintain the presence of wild animals in circuses, going against the law adopted on the subject in November 2021.
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