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European elections: the Animalist Party launches its campaign at the Salon de l’Agriculture

“It’s hard, very hard.

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European elections: the Animalist Party launches its campaign at the Salon de l’Agriculture

“It’s hard, very hard.” In front of the cramped enclosures of the Vendée sheep at the Salon de l’Agriculture, Hélène Thouy sighs. The head of the Animalist Party list in the European elections committed violence this Sunday by wandering through the aisles of Pavilion 1. A minefield for the 40-year-old animal activist, who is starting her campaign in the middle of an agricultural crisis.

If she demands the end of industrial and intensive breeding, the professional lawyer did not go to the Porte de Versailles exhibition center to do battle with the farmers. “We often think that we are against breeders. It's wrong. We meet them, we talk with them. They are total victims of this system,” said the woman who had already gone to meet them during the 2022 presidential campaign, but who was unable to obtain the 500 sponsorships necessary to run. Faced with a breeder of Bazadaise cows, Hélène Thouy engages in a courteous but firm exchange about the breeding conditions. The discussion ends, without animosity.

A high mass stormed by politicians, the Agricultural Show is an opportunity for the Animalist Party to put its dual strategy of visibility and credibility to the test. By leaving the more divisive actions to animal defense associations, the group intends to play “the role of a democratic and republican political party”. “Who are they?”, ask a few curious people gathered around the animalist delegation of around ten people, including a few municipal elected officials in scarves.


Nearly three months before the European elections, the Animalist Party is playing big. Favored by a proportional voting system, the small list sets out to attack this electoral meeting with a fixed goal: obtaining the 5% of votes necessary to send deputies to the European Parliament. The ambition is great. By ignoring the traditional left/right divide to assert itself as a “transpartisan” formation, the party is betting on the reservoir of “orphan voters” to unearth these 5%. “Our objective is entirely achievable given the current context. The traditional parties have disappointed,” wants to believe Hélène Thouy, already headliner of the Animalist Party in 2019.

The strategy had paid off in previous European elections. Unexpectedly, the 2.16% of the Animalist Party put the spotlight on the young formation, which had clearly outstripped the various lists of "yellow vests" but also that of the Popular Republican Union (UPR) of François Asselineau or the Patriots by Florian Philippot. Buoyed by this promising score, the Animalist Party is not afraid to revise its ambitions upwards. “Our 2019 score was achieved without any financial means and without any media coverage. Today, we are going there in different conditions, certainly still with a lack of notoriety, but equipped with greater resources and very strong determination,” assures Hélène Thouy.

Today, the party is credited with 1 to 2% of voting intentions in the polls. A relatively low score, which nevertheless arouses the desire of other parties, particularly on the left. The Ecologists and La France insoumise thus approached the animalist headliner, with a place on their list at stake. “On the left, the election is being played out in a pinch. If they can eliminate us and recover our votes, that gives them fewer competitors,” analyzes Douchka Markovic, animalist candidate and elected to the Paris Council. “What is damaging is that the one, two or three percent that animalists will make will be missing from other lists which also defend animal welfare. I would have liked them to join us,” regrets environmentalist MEP Caroline Roose, also vice-president of the “Animal Welfare and Protection” intergroup in the European Parliament.

But there is no question of giving in to successive canvassing. “Our ambition is to have a 100% autonomous and animalist list. Even if the progression of the animal movement will take more time, we are making the strategic choice not to form an alliance,” explains Douchka Markovic. A choice that a priori pays off for the Animalist Party, whose electorate turns out to be antithetical to that of the environmentalists. According to an Ifop study carried out during the 2019 European elections, the pools of environmentalist voices that are the large metropolises are very unfavorable to the Animalist Party. This is more successful in capturing the votes of the lower middle class and modest backgrounds in peripheral territories, particularly in the north-east and south-east of France.

Turned away from traditional parties, this electorate seems seduced by the monothematic discourse of the Animalist Party. The party's only battlehorse, the theme of the animal condition is nevertheless preparing to be completed in view of the June 9 election. With a program expanded to five pillars - protected health, agriculture of the future, livable land, sustainable basket, peaceful society - the Animalist Party intends to “treat all questions through the prism of the animal question”, explains Jonathan Lecarderonnel, director of the communication of animalists. A program currently being drafted which should be found, “for the first time in the history of the party”, in all the mailboxes of the French as the election approaches.

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