Growth for animal rights parties in elections in France, Australia, the UK and Italy

29 June 2022

Recent elections in Europe and Australia have shown the steady rise of political parties for animal rights, nature and the environment. Voters in France, the UK, Italy and Australia brought electoral wins to the Parti Animaliste, the Animal Welfare Party, the Partito Animalista and the Animal Justice Party Australia. A clear sign that the international animalist political movement is gaining ground in the political landscape across the globe. Meanwhile, its influence turns out to surpass mere numbers, with other parties adjusting their political programme or – in the case of Australia – publicly committing to significant action on improving animal welfare and the protection of wildlife and nature.

“Thanks to its 255.086 voters, the Parti Animaliste confirms its unmistakable role in national politics”, the French animal rights party commented after this month’s legislative elections. Despite the elections largely revolving around the two major contesting parties, the Parti Animaliste managed to more than quadruple the number of votes compared to elections in 2017. And this was not the only positive outcome of its campaign to put animal welfare on the political agenda. “Our activities bear fruit. A number of parties has adjusted their political programmes to make them more animal-friendly,” according Hélène Thouy, co-president of the Parti Animaliste.

Meanwhile, in both the UK and Italy parties for the animals took part in municipal elections, in several municipalities for the very first time. With positive results. Even with limited campaign budgets and media exposure, both the Animal Welfare Party UK and the Partito Animalista Italiano managed to win considerable amounts of votes. One of the UK candidates even gained 3% of the votes, outrunning the much bigger, nationally represented Liberal Democrat candidates in his municipality. “This isn't the end, it's only the beginning!”

More than just votes! Securing wins for animals and nature in Australia

Running in last month’s Australian federal elections with candidates in all federal states as well as for lower house seats, the Animal Justice Party attracted more votes than three years ago. Voters in Australia can rank multiple parties on the ballot paper according to their preference. Around 190.000 voters chose AJP as their first choice party, and many millions more ranked the party high in their other preference votes. “These people have sent a clear message to politicians that stamping out Australia's rampant, institutionalised, and often Government-subsidised animal cruelty is a #1 priority for them”, according to the AJP.

What is more: in the run-up to the elections, the AJP secured a number of concrete, impactful wins for animals and nature by using its political leverage, pushing the Australian Labour Party – that has now emerged from elections as the new governing party – to commit to significant reforms concerning animal welfare, wildlife and nature. In turn for AJP’s help to get second preference votes from its voters, and thereby enough seats to form a majority government, the Labour Party publicly announced to: phase-out live sheep exports (around 80% of the animals exported from Australia); to rewild and protect 30% of Australia’s land and sea territory by 2030; and to install an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare to provide reports to Parliament on live exports and breaches of animal welfare standards.

“Animals now have the strongest representation in the Federal Parliament in Australian history. We will ensure these election commitments become government policies as soon as possible,” the Animal Justice Party comments: “We've never been in this position federally before, where AJP priorities will become the law! In the next few years we will campaign, review legislation and work with the government to implement these initiatives, and to set up further breakthroughs.”