Can animal rights party gain paw-hold in Flanders?


Animal welfare is a top priority for many voters in Flanders, but is that enough for an animal rights-oriented party to win any seats?

Party animal

In the Netherlands’ election last week, the Party for Animals (PvdD) went from two seats in parliament to five – a substantial gain for the party. Could it happen in Flanders?

De Standaard decided to ask Hermes Sanctorum, who resigned from his political party, Groen, last year because of its stance on ritual slaughter, where animals are slaughtered without first being stunned. Like animal welfare minister Ben Weyts (N-VA), Sanctorum wants a total ban on the practice, while Groen is in favour of a solution negotiated with the faith communities representing Judaism and Islam, which employ the practice during religious holidays.

According to Sanctorum, Flanders’ electoral quota, where a party can only win a seat with a minimum of 5% of the vote, means a new animal rights-oriented party would be doomed to failure. (The quota does not exist in the Netherlands, where the PvdD won 3.2% last week.)

Nevertheless, 46% of people polled in Flanders said they would decide their vote on the basis of a party’s position on animal welfare, while some 40% said the issue was a top priority for them. But there’s no room, Sanctorum told De Standaard, “on the Green side for two parties, whatever the positive poll results for Groen. Besides, Groen always does less well in elections than it does in polls.”

Photo: Ingimage