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Jane Smith: The first person in the UK to win a council seat on an animal rights platform

JANE SMITH: We didn’t have a large animal rights voter base. What we had was ordinary people who acknowledge and respect people, animals and environment that comes from a philosophy of fairness and compassion.

JANE SMITH: ‘In recent local elections, for the first time in UK political history, an ‘animal party’ won a seat at the ballot box. The party was Animal Welfare Party, and the candidate was me. So how did we do this, and why? The ‘why’ here, for me, is that humans represent only 0.01% of life on earth – but in the vast majority of decisions made by governments and local authorities, the needs of the other 99.99% are barely considered at all. There are various reasons for this, and all of them tragic: humans have come to see themselves as the dominant species; many people don’t consider other animals at all in everyday decisions as consumers; and finally, in local as in national politics, animals “don’t vote” and therefore don’t count much to most serving representatives…

In 2017, in office as a Green Party town councillor in Alsager, Cheshire, I’d switched to Animal Welfare Party because I felt so strongly about the need to end animal exploitation that I wanted it to be my priority in politics… It’s worth saying here that we campaigned with very little budget and, notably, with a 100% ‘positive’ campaign, choosing in our election leaflet to focus entirely on what we’d already done for Alsager or planned to do next rather than criticising any other parties. We found we had plenty to show and say, without entering into the toxic mud-slinging that seemed to characterise so many other larger parties’ election materials…

In Alsager, I feel we won because of sheer hard work for people, animals and environment locally, and for being able to show our achievements simply and honestly… We didn’t have a large animal rights voter base in one ward of a typical semi-rural Cheshire town – but what we did have was ordinary people who acknowledge and respect hard work for people, animals and environment that comes from a philosophy of fairness and compassion. If we’ve proved something, it’s that working locally with the wellbeing of all living things in mind can not only be done – it can also be rewarded at the ballot box’. SOURCE…

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