Could a U.S. “Party for the Animals” politically succeed?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2007:
GUILFORD, Conn.– Should U.S. animal advocates form a “Party
for the Animals,” to consolidate support and seek leverage?
Dutch Party for the Animals founder Marianne Thieme, elected
to the Dutch Parliament in November 2006, has already visited the
U.S. twice to promote the idea, most recently at the Animal Rights
2007 conference in Los Angeles.
Similar Parties for the Animals have already formed in
Britain, Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Luxembourg, and
Austria. The idea of starting a U.S. Party for the Animals has
gained momentum from their example, and because all of the declared
candidates for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election have either weak
or negative records on animal issues except for Democratic contender
Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich, a longtime Ohio Con-gressional
Representative, is rated only an outside chance of winning the
But National Institute for Animal Advocacy founder Julie
Lewin warns–as author of a recent book on political organization
entitled Get Political for Animals and Win the Laws They Need–that
investing time and money in organizing a U.S. Party for the Animals
would be a mistake.
“Marianne Thieme is remarkable,” Lewin concedes. “Yet our
political systems are very different. Most importantly, we have a
two-party system and the Dutch have a parliamentary system,” as do
all the other nations which have Parties for the Animals.
“Attempting a U.S. Party for the Animals could weaken us,”
Lewin told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “First, U.S. lawmakers would doubtless be
terrified that by voting for a piece of animal rights legislation,
or voting against a piece of anti-animal legislation, they would be
labeled as supporters of a ‘radical’ animal rights agenda,” as
already happens, but without the opportunity to attach the
allegation to a fringe political structure.