Last week it became apparent that political parties for animal rights in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium have been successful in elections at different levels. For the first time in Belgian history, a Belgian member of parliament has been elected from an animal welfare party.
Dutch Party for the Animals celebrates gain of seats in Dutch Senate
The Dutch Party for the Animals has won an extra seat in the Senate, going from two to three seats in total. Its Belgian sister party DierAnimal, established only in 2018, has also won a seat in the regional parliament of Brussels (the Brussels-Capital Region) in the regional elections, instantly making it as big as some of Belgium’s established political parties. Victoria Austraet will take her seat for DierAnimal in the Parliament of Brussels.
“We have established this grouping because we are all committed animal rights activists. We try to aim for the greatest possible protection of animal rights. We barely had any financial means for the elections and I was not expecting to be elected. We were not included in any polls and so we had no idea how we were doing. However, reactions from the crowd were very positive, as results have shown. That gave us the strength to carry on,” says Austraet.
Victoria Austraet, elected representative for the Belgian DierAnimal and her colleagues
Someone else who is feeling euphoric is Peter Verhaegen, DierAnimal’s vice president: “For the first time in the history of Belgium, an animal party has joined the parliament. As a young, new party we did not see this coming. We are the largest of the small parties.” Verhaegen believes his party has taken votes from the green parties: “We have not yet made an analysis of where our votes have come from, but I think we have attracted a lot of voters from the Green party at all levels. Even more than the Greens, we represent nature, animals and all living things."
In Germany, there was also good news for the political animal rights movement: Partei Mensch Umwelt Tierschutz won a total of 15 seats in the municipal elections last week: five in Baden-Württemberg, four in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, three in Brandenburg, two in Saxony-Anhalt and one in Saxony.
Germany will have two more important elections: the state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg. For these elections, the party is in urgent need of some statements of support and people can help them by submitting a statement themselves or call on their network in Germany to do the same. You can find more information here and here.