You too can make the world a better place for animals
Kickstart your own party
Do you want to help animals? Do you want to get the issue of animal welfare higher on your country’s political agenda? Do you want to be part of the worldwide political movement for animal rights and our planet?
Here are a some suggestions:
Force politicians to take a stand
Political parties are usually only concerned with human interests. The interests of animals hardly ever get a look in. This is why there is no or hardly any legislation with respect to animal rights in many countries. Animals are simply not a subject of political discussion. Politicians either express no opinion on the matter, and they are seldom confronted by journalists or fellow politicians with questions relating to animal welfare. The more voters show an interest in political standpoints about animal welfare, the more politicians will have to take a stand on it.
In this way, you can encourage politicians to speak out on animal welfare issues:
- Carefully read the electoral programmes of all political parties with respect to (the lack of) issues relating to animal welfare, and share your findings with as many people as possible;
- Contact (local) politicians to ask them about their standpoints on animal welfare issues;
- Follow the political discussions and draw attention to (the lack of) issues concerning animal welfare. Directly or indirectly call politicians to task in this regard. You can contact them directly or through their party organisations, by letter or sending opinion articles to newspapers, attempting to get journalists interested in the issues you have highlighted, organising demonstrations (for example, a mediagenic protest or e-mail action), and so forth.
It is essential that politicians become aware of the fact that voters find animal welfare important. Indeed, no politician will openly admit to not being interested in animal welfare! Whether or not he will keep his promises is another matter, but it is important to make a start and to force politicians to formulate clear positions about animal welfare matters. You can do this by repeatedly asking them for their stance, and continuing to stimulate the social debate on animal welfare.
Vote for animal-friendly politicians or parties
If a party for the animals has already been established in your country, then vote for them. Even if a party for the animals has one single seat, the influence is greater than one would expect. In the Netherlands, we noticed that already by participating in the elections, other parties felt they had to prove a party for the animals was not needed, that they themselves were really animal and environmentally-friendly. And once we had two seats, traditional parties paid much more attention to issues related to animals, nature and environment than ever before. Issues that have never previously been discussed in parliament, were now placed on the political agenda.
If there is no party for the animals in your country, then find out who the most animal-friendly politicians or parties are. One party will have a more animal-friendly profile than the other, but it may also be the case that a real animal protectionist can also be found in a less animal-friendly party. Find out which politicians and parties take a clear stand on animal welfare and give them your vote during elections.
Check how political parties vote: do they keep their promises?
Making animal-friendly promises is one thing, but having politicians keep them is, of course, what it is all about. Breaking electoral promises about animal welfare is not something that should go unnoticed. In the Netherlands, the Party for the Animals continually confronts other political parties and the government with the promises that they have made about animal welfare.
We set up a special website to give an overview of all the political parties’ voting behaviour with respect to animal welfare. The site keeps track of how parties vote on each resolution relating to animal welfare, which is voted on in parliament. In this way, every voter who is interested in animal welfare can see how the various parties have voted. Click here if you would like to see this (Dutch language) website.
Establish an animal welfare party
When we established the Party for the Animals, there were people who questioned what an animal welfare party could add to the work of existing animal welfare organisations. The answer is simple. As elected members of parliament, we have direct influence on the political debates and agendas. In contrast, non-governmental organisations are restricted to lobbying to influence politicians. This does not mean that these organisations are not important, quite to the contrary. However, the Dutch situation has proved that having an animal welfare party in parliament is essential for really getting animal welfare issues on the political agenda.
The opportunities for a new party to gain entrance into parliament differ according to country. We believe that it is important to think in terms of possibilities, rather than impossibilities. History has shown that emancipation movements undergo similar processes. They start off small, are led by a small group of people who swim against a strong social current, and are regularly ridiculed by others. This is how things went with the movements that strove for the abolition of slavery, child labour and the second-class position of women. This is how things will also go for the political emancipation movement that fights for animal rights. So do not be discouraged!
We are part of a growing, worldwide movement, which strives for animals to be treated with respect. Naturally this movement is a response to a period of over-use, egotism, materialism and cruelty. It is vitally important that this growing animal welfare movement gains as much political influence as possible. This is why as many animal parties as possible should be established to promote the respectful treatment of animals in both the national and international political arena.