Animals Count: a Political Party for People and Animals

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During the London elections of May 1st, 2008, Animals Count (AC) became the first political party for the animals to contest a UK election. Launched in 2006 by London-based animal welfare scientist …

During the London elections of May 1st, 2008, Animals Count (AC) became the first political party for the animals to contest a UK election. Launched in 2006 by London-based animal welfare scientist and educator Jasmijn de Boo, AC was established to raise the status of animal issues within UK politics. We’ve grown from the successful Dutch Party for the Animals, which is the fastest growing political party in Europe.

Animals Count aims to set the standard as the political party advocating most strongly for animals within the UK, whilst also supporting other socially and environmentally responsible policies. We seek to demonstrate by example, that comprehensive, well-reasoned policies on animal issues are not only possible, but desirable, and can enhance the manifestos of political parties. We’ve had some success at encouraging the adoption of animal-friendly policies by other parties with a far greater command of political power. Indeed, the potential to positively influence much larger parties offers the greatest potential benefits. Accordingly, we have met various MPs to advocate animal-friendly policies. Additionally, we seek to demonstrate that voters care about animal issues, by directly contesting elections.

This presentation by AC’s Spokesperson reviews political parties and actions for animals within Europe and abroad; describes the development of AC; outlines our main policies; and our strategies for raising the status of animal issues within UK politics.

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  • The Century of the Animal . Published in 2004.
  • Upper L to R: Brian May, Twiggy, Nicholas Ball, Jeffrey Masson Lower L to R: Prof Robert Garner, Benjamin Zephaniah, Maria Daines
  • Closed Party List System : Electors vote for a party in a multi-member constituency; each party receives seats in the constituency in the same proportion as the votes it won in that constituency. The parties determine the ranking of their list of candidates; the elector has no say as to which candidates are elected as they simply vote for a party.
  • Any questions? Enormous public sympathy for animals offer great potential for change, but such intelligent, strategic and coordinated activism is necessary to fully realise that potential. Acknowledgement: Jasmijn de Boo created most of this presentation

Transcript

  • 1. Animals Count:A Political Party for People and Animals Dr Andrew Knight Spokesperson
  • 2. Founding of the Dutch‘Party for the Animals’• Political Party for the Animals established in Oct. 2002, when parliament fell• 3 months to prepare for elections in Jan 2003 with no budget, resources and hardly any campaigning• Result: almost one seat in Parliament (>49,000 votes, <500 votes short)
  • 3. Results EP elections 2004 • 3.2% of the votes, whilst 3.7% needed… (>153,000 votes) • % of votes would have resulted in 5 seats had these been national Parliamentary elections • Important effect on other parties, who added AW policy to their programmes! • Party for the Animals became a watchdog party
  • 4. Party for the Animals website, 2005
  • 5. Political parties for the animals internationally • The Netherlands • Austria • France • Germany • Italy • Spain • Canada • Israel • Australia Details: www.AnimalsCount.org, ‘Similar Initiatives’
  • 6. Dutch elections November 2006• 20 celebrities (authors, artists, tv presenters etc.) showed support by signing on to the electoral list• Full-fledged campaign from Sept. ’06 – New website, Party for the Animals TV, e-campaigns• Huge media interest and predictions of 2-3 seats prior to elections• Results: 180,000 votes (nearly 2%) for the PvdD resulting in 2 out of 150 seats in national parliament. Historic achievement!
  • 7. Dutch provincial state elections, March 2007• 9 representatives elected in 8 (out of 12) Dutch Provincial States• Members of Provincial States elected the first Senator for the Party for the Animals in June 2007
  • 8. Jasmijn de Boo
  • 9. UK support for similar party • Around 3 million supporters of animal protection organisations • About 7% vegetarians • Free range & organic farming on the rise • Animal welfare education increasing • Strict animal protection legislation • Animal protection philosophies and strategies copied around the world
  • 10. Animals Count launch 2006 • Established supporter group Oct 2006 • Developed outline manifesto • Set up website • Registered the party • Launched 3rd December during Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre • Huge media interest (BBC worldwide)
  • 11. Celebrity supporters “The animals cant vote. Thats why we need a political party that stands up for them. And in the EU elections, thanks to proportional representation, small parties like Animals Count have a fair chance of winning a seat.” Dr. Brian May Twiggy Jeffrey MassonProf Robert Garner Benjamin Zephaniah Maria Daines Dr Who??
  • 12. Raison dêtreBroad concern for animals is a mainstream priority, which is poorly reflected in the policies of most political parties
  • 13. Political objectives• Within the UK, Animals Count aims to set the standard as the political party advocating most strongly for animals, whilst also supporting other socially and environmentally responsible policies.• Through several mechanisms, we aim to elevate the status of animal issues within politics:  We seek to demonstrate by example, that comprehensive, well- reasoned policies on animal issues are not only possible, but desirable, and can enhance the manifestos of political parties.
  • 14.  We encourage the adoption of animal-friendly policies by other parties (the potential to positively influence much larger parties offers the greatest potential benefits). We seek to demonstrate that voters care about animal issues, by directly contesting elections, particularly where proportional representation exists. We educate the electorate about the animal policies of candidates from other political parties. We cooperate with pro-animal parties/candidates.
  • 15. Main policy objectives Phase out farming systems with poor welfare consequences for animals. End long distance transportation of live animals. Establish a transparent, independent scientific inquiry to thoroughly review the ethical, scientific and economic implications of animal research. Banning all hunting, without loopholes. Establish a basic national animal health care system.
  • 16. Companion animals Basic national animal healthcare system. Mandatory Responsible Animal Care Certificate: basic preventative health care, nutrition, behaviour, socialisation, training and pet insurance. Non-compliance would risk fines, that would be used to fund the system. Also mandatory: pet Identification & Registration, annual veterinary checkups, and neutering by sexual maturity or earlier, other than in special circumstances.
  • 17.  Animal Protection Officer employed by each local council. Increased penalties for convicted animal abusers (with mandatory completion of a Responsible Animal Care course). Restriction/regulation of breeding, particularly of animals with hereditary characteristics contrary to good welfare. Regulation of pet stores. Restrict of exotic animals as pets. Crack down on dog fighting.
  • 18. London Assembly Elections May 2008• End March 2008: decided to contest• Lambeth/Southwark constituency (£1,000 deposit)• Raised funds, printed & distributed 10,000 leaflets on a shoestring budget• Media: local newspapers, BBC online• Kennington Park Party for the Animals
  • 19. Results• 1,828 votes (1.12%)• More than Socialist Party (1,588; 0.97%)• Independent candidates typically received 100-700 votes• Increased public profile/membership• Articles in Veterinary Practice, Veterinary Review• A seat near Parliament
  • 20. European Parliamentary elections: 4 June 2009 th
  • 21. European Parliamentary elections – voting system Closed Party List System“Electors vote for a party in a multi-memberconstituency; each party receives seats in theconstituency in the same proportion as the votes it wonin that constituency. The parties determine the rankingof their list of candidates; the elector has no say as towhich candidates are elected as they simply vote for aparty.”
  • 22. First main fundraising letter, November 2008
  • 23. Winter 08/09Fundraising dinner 12/12/08 raising over£600Sponsored dog walk 08/02/09 raising over£400
  • 24. Vegan 3 Peaks Challenge May ‘09 Raised £1300! www.vegan3peaks.info
  • 25. Total amount raised ±9000(includes regular donations/memberships) Total campaign expenses 9511.69 (excluding personal costs)
  • 26. EU Election campaign lauch 18/04/09
  • 27. Election results 07/06/09 (0.82%)Beating Libertas, the Jury Team and an Independent candidate 
  • 28. The future…
  • 29. Thanks for your attention! Alguna pregunta?