Under the account “The masked cats“, Accessible to a few hundred privileged people, hides a certain Marine Le Pen, an assumed and unconditional fan of felines. The presidential candidate does not hesitate in his communication to highlight his closeness to animals. She even dedicated one of her fourteen thematic booklets landscape for all kinds of animals. On the program: constitutional recognition of the legal status of animals, the fight against fraud against French and European standards, the tightening of penalties for offenses committed against animals, etc.
His talks on the subject of animal welfare are not uncommon. “I have for years called for an end to undisturbed slaughter.she said at the microphone of France Infoon March 3rd. And there I can tell you that animal suffering every day is thousands upon thousands of animals being slaughtered alive. A protracted struggle certainly, but probably interested. “She may not position herself on this issue for the same reasons as animal rights activists”broadcasts Benoit Thomé, president of the Animal Cross Association, referring to halal ritual slaughter, which is often performed without anesthesia.
The subject of slaughter without anesthesia has long been treated with abundance by the far right, Christophe Marie, spokeswoman for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, explains that it has not always been easy to conduct it politically: Marine Le Pen was more quickly shown on this part, which could be a handicap for animal welfare associations. As soon as a right-wing extremist group appears on a theme, it is not necessarily an asset. Since then, other candidates have come forward, including Yannick Jadot, who said he was in favor of banning this practice.
Not specific enough
“When we look at the proposals [de la candidate RN]they can be strong “recognizes Christophe Marie. But according to the foundation’s spokeswoman Brigitte Bardot, the reality is more complex. Marine Le Pen’s involvement in the animal cause has thus been only slightly reflected in her various terms of office. “In the National Assembly as in the European Parliament, she has never been particularly active in the defense of animals. For example, on the strengthening of sanctions against animal cruelty, debated last year, she did not participate in the work of parliamentarians. She supports some amendments, but she does not take many initiatives. “
To measure the level of politicians’ involvement in animals, ninety-nine animal protection NGOs have joined forces on “Animal Engagement”. This collective project makes it possible to know which candidates support twenty-two measures that are considered urgent. Proactive in his speeches, Marine Le Pen barely gets the average, validating 58% of the measureslike “the fight against animal cruelty or the fact “remove those whose stocks are in decline or endangered from the list of huntable species”. Since then, “Animal Engagement” ranks her seventh out of twelve among the presidential candidates most engaged in the initiatives proposed by NGOs, behind Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, but ahead of Éric Zemmour.
The RN leader is also involved the average number of MPs on the platform “Politics & Animals”, launched by the association L214. What punishes it is its weak commitment to the regulation of hunting, zoos, breeding and circus animals. Contacted by Slate, L214 specifies that although its program includes a grant project and a slaughter conditions measure, Marien Le Pen has not “no measure to improve agricultural conditions in France, at most a desire not to import products from lower-priced countries”.
The association also raises questions about its lack of proposals regarding meat consumption: “So what is the candidate for the National Rally waiting for to commit to intensive agriculture and democratization of plant-based food, health issues, climate issues, food sovereignty and the condition of the animals?”
At Animal Cross, Benoit Thomé insists on the lack of concrete commitments compared to the amount of bills. It sums up: “It risks becoming legalism.” The activist wonders if the origin of this tropism does not come from the candidate’s previous career as a lawyer. “She still has ideas about it, so I can not say that it’s all negative”he acknowledges.
An interest … opportunistic?
86% of French people want the presidential candidates to present measures to improve the condition of animals in April 2022, according to a IFOP survey for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation released in February. A figure that rises to 91% among RN sympathizers, who are a majority to declare that the proposals from the Elysée’s proponents on the issue of animal protection may affect their vote.
Christophe Marie welcomes the fact that the consideration for animal welfare has generally developed in recent years, following the commitment of animal welfare associations, authors and strengthened journalistic treatment in the case. “Politics has gripped this issue, the candidates are aware that it is not random for the citizens.” The spokeswoman for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation is doubly cautious with speeches. Faced with the few commitments made by Emmanuel Macron in 2017 on the subject, he notes surprisingly that the majority has allowed some progress in this area.
Conversely, Marine Le Pen’s communication does not guarantee a daily obligation in the deputy’s hemicycle. Christophe Marie adds to be complete that elected RNs, especially in the European Parliament, have even invested in animal defense. “But like other elected officials elsewhere”he says.
Whether it is through posture or deep commitment, embracing the animal cause has an elective effort that is far from insignificant. And that’s doubly important when dwelling on Marine Le Pen’s historically popular voter sociology. “Among the voters, those who have the highest expectations at the animal level, we find the underprivileged classesexplains Benoit Thomé. Unlike the speeches that are sometimes conveyed, it is not a matter of bobo. That is what voters in Marine Le Pen expect, and she seems to have understood it well.