In Belgium as in France, we have an “animalist” party. With us, it is called “DierAnimal”, since it is unified, national and bilingual – “ say means “ animal in Dutch – and so much the worse for the German-speaking Belgians, who anyway only think of hunting wild boar. It may seem curious, even absurd, to base a political party on the defense of animals. Because even if the cause is friendly, a political party is still something other than an association of pro-this or anti-that activists. The management of the “public thing” implies a global project, a global vision and commitment, in various matters, of which we believe we know how they should be managed so that the city functions at best.
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And it must be recognized that in this perspective, animal welfare is a bit peripheral or secondary: a nice pastime to which we have the right to devote our Sunday, while others go to mass. , but which cannot be put at the forefront of a political project without arousing the smirks or the annoyance of serious politicians. In any case, this is clearly what certain traditional parties think, if we are to believe the vote which took place on Wednesday in the Brussels Parliament, during which the left-wing parties refused with a good deal of support for the proposal to ban slaughter without stunning, which their colleagues nevertheless approved in Wallonia and Flanders.
And in this regard, we must note the courageous abstention of the Brussels ecologist deputies. Because before being the traditional political party that we know, Écolo was a “movement” centered on the defense of the environment. What must its founders think of the fact that today, out of a pure concern not to offend – that is to say, in political language “to lose” – voters, deputies have blocked a proposal which could have reduce animal suffering, thus marking that the preservation of religious sensitivity has become in their eyes more important than the cause on which their party is built?
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Be that as it may, we can undoubtedly draw three lessons from this reluctance. The first is that the animalist parties were not the first to be formed around a single concern, which some considered at the time to be a fantasy of nice cranks. And that did not prevent them from becoming, a few decades later, key players in the political game, whose “faddishness” is now on the program of any political party.
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The second is that if a party that was built on nature and the environment now comes to consider that animal welfare is very nice, but let’s be a bit serious and think about the religious beliefs that we risk offending, it is only very normal for another party to see the light of day, and take up the cause that its environmentalist predecessors are now trampling on with all shame drunk. The third is that if avoiding offending sensibilities – religious or otherwise – is playing politics, then all the more reason to ensure that we stop slaughtering animals without any regard for the suffering inflicted on them is certainly playing politics.