Presidential 2022. Hunting, intensive farming… What do candidates offer for animals?

81% of French people say they are sensitive to the condition of animals, according to the results of a new survey by Ifop for Engagement Animals 2022, a group of 29 NGOs created to encourage presidential candidates to take a stand on measures in favor of animals well -be. animal welfare.

This concern affects the entire population: 89% of the modest classes, 74% of the wealthy classes, 86% of the inhabitants of rural communes and 80% of those living in the Parisian agglomeration. “The French concerned about animal welfare are not just Parisian wounds,” notes Nikita Bachelard, head of affairs and public relations at the Fondation Droit Animal, Éthique et Sciences (LFDA), one of the NGOs members of the ‘Animal Pledge 2022.

However, “there is a significant gap between the expectations of the French and the commitment of the candidates in terms of animal welfare”, he underlined this Tuesday at a press conference. If some candidates, like Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Popular Union) and Yannick Jadot (ecologists) are very good students, others speak very little about animal condition in their program, like Anne Hidalgo, Valérie Pécresse or Eric Zemmour. Furthermore, the latter has “strictly no proposal in favor of animals in its programme”, emphasizes Nikita Bachelard.

Supervision of hunting, intensive livestock, fishing, bullfighting… We detail the main points of convergence and divergence of candidates for the presidential elections on the animal issue.

Creation: proposals on the left, virtual silence on the right

Several candidates propose ending intensive breeding and slaughter, such as Nathalie Arthaud (Workers’ Struggle), Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Yannick Jadot or Philippe Poutou (New Anticapitalist Party). Fabien Roussel (Communist Party) wants to prevent the development of industrial livestock facilities, such as the “farm of a thousand cows”.

Without proposing an end to intensive farming, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan wants to make video surveillance mandatory in slaughterhouses and calls for the encouragement of “quality breeding” and the creation of an “animal welfare” label. The candidate from Debout la France also proposes how several others – Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Yannick Jadot or Marine Le Pen – go to the end of the slaughter without stunning.

The rebel candidate and the environmentalist go further, proposing to limit the time for transporting live animals and ban the breeding of animals in cages, as well as the breeding of animals for their fur. Nathalie Arthaud is also in favor of this last proposal.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon also wants to ban the grinding of ducklings and female chicks (the grinding of male chicks has been banned since January 1, 2022) or other cruel breeding practices, such as removing piglets’ tails.

The issue of intensive breeding is not mentioned in the programs of Marine Le Pen, Valérie Pécresse, Eric Zemmour, Anne Hidalgo or Jean Lassalle. Only the Socialist Party candidate speaks of launching “animal welfare meetings” involving “all sectors of livestock”.

Good students and donkeys: when NGOs rank candidates on the animal issue

Among the candidates who expressed their views on the 22 measures proposed by the NGOs of Animal Engagement 2022 and who signed the letter, Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI) validated 98% of the measures, as did the ecologist Yannick Jadot, Nathalie Arthaud (LO ) 85% , Philippe Poutou (NPA) 77%, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Debout la France) 67% and Marine Le Pen (RN) 58%. “There is a divergence between the left and the right, particularly on more controversial issues such as breeding and hunting,” notes Melvin Josse, representative of Animal Engagements 2022.

The farm animal protection association L214 also measured the temperature of candidate programs and produced a ranking of candidates for the Elysée. Although the NGO’s barometer is slightly different from that of Animal Engagement 2022, the L214 took into account issues related to fisheries and industrial agriculture, plant-based foods or the creation of state institutions such as an animal welfare ministry.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon comes first with a score of 4.1 out of 5, ahead of Yannick Jadot (3.5) and anti-capitalist candidate Philippe Poutou (1.8). Emmanuel Macron, Valérie Pécresse, Jean Lassalle and, finally, Eric Zemmour share the last places.

Note that several candidates say they oppose animal breeding and experimentation for science if there are alternative methods. This is the case of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Yannick Jadot, Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon or Nathalie Arthaud.

Hunting: the left wants to frame it better, the right doesn’t want to touch this “tradition”

While the debate is revived with each new fatal accident, several candidates such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Yannick Jadot say they are in favor of banning hunting on weekends, holidays and during school holidays. According to Engagement Animals 2022, Nathalie Arthaud also wants to ban him two days a week, including Sunday, but not necessarily during school holidays.

In his program, Philippe Poutou is also in favor of “limiting hunting periods and areas”. The NPA candidate also wants to ban hunting of declining species, as does Yannick Jadot. The ecologist wants to end the issuance of a lifetime hunting license and ban agriculture – the fact of feeding certain species of game – practiced by hunters.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Yannick Jadot want to ban certain so-called traditional hunting practices, considered cruel, such as hunting with dogs or hunting underground. Nathalie Arthaud and Anne Hidalgo are also opposed to hunting with dogs.

Mainly on the right, other candidates do not propose any measures to limit hunting periods or prohibit certain techniques, positioning themselves on the contrary as defenders of this practice.

Thus, Jean Lassale wants “folk traditions and ancestral practices such as traditional hunting and fishing”, which are part of the national heritage”. The candidate even intends to revise the Berne Convention (1979) on wildlife, which in particular protects the wolf, bear or lynx.

Eric Zemmour believes that hunters are “players in rural life and the maintenance of nature”, while Marine Le Pen considers hunting to be “a necessity as well as a hobby”. In the eyes of Valérie Pécresse, “to defend hunting is to defend rural life. To ban hunting on weekends is simply to ban hunting.”

On the left, communist Fabien Roussel is opposed by defending hunting, which he considers a “tradition” even though, according to him, certain practices should be better regulated.

What assessment for Emmanuel Macron in terms of animal welfare?

The current President of the Republic, the last declared candidate for the presidential elections, has not yet presented his entire program. But in terms of animal conditions, the NGOs paint a mixed picture for Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term:

  • Emmanuel Macron had promised that by 2022, all eggs sold to French consumers would come from outdoor farms. Which is still not the case today.
  • The video surveillance promised by the president in slaughterhouses is not yet mandatory
  • The ban on crushing male chicks took effect on January 1, 2022 (but female ducklings and chicks can still be crushed)
  • Emmanuel Macron was singled out because of his stance on hunting: he notably split the price of the hunting license by two.

However, with some positives:

  • Live castration of piglets has been banned since January 1
  • End of breeding mink for their fur (animal abuse law)
  • The ban on the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops from 2024 (Animal Abuse Act)
  • Ban until 2028 on keeping and displaying wild animals in traveling circuses (Animal Abuse Act)
  • Dolphin or Orca shows will be banned from 2026 (Animal Abuse Act)

Bullfighting: just a few ban proposals

Other subjects are also discussed, such as bullfights or cockfights, which some candidates propose to ban, such as Nathalie Arthaud, Philippe Poutou, Yannick Jadot, Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

As a reminder, 77% of French people want an end to bullfighting in France, according to an Ifop poll dated early February 2022.

If you don’t want to ban it, Marine Le Pen proposes that under 16s can’t participate in bullfights

Rebels and environmentalists want to limit industrial fishing

Here again, the proposals are not legion. Still on the side of Yannick Jadot and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, we want to limit non-selective fishing techniques.

The rebel candidate wants to ban giant trawlers and factory ships, eradicate electric fishing or even reduce the size of boats that can practice so-called “artisanal” fishing to 12 meters. Yannick Jadot wants to fight illegal fishing and ban the marketing of endangered marine animals within the meaning of the IUCN, with mandatory and systematic display of the species’ status.

And the pets?

Some candidates are proposing measures for pets, such as Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who wants to create a national fund to help animal protection associations “help shelters and thousands of volunteers who care for abandoned animals”. The Debout la France candidate also wants to strengthen campaigns to prevent and punish the abandonment of animals and “” create spaces reserved for dogs and cats in all regional public parks to allow these animals to evolve in freedom.

Like Nathalie Arthaud or Yannick Jadot, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan also wants to fight against animal trafficking. The ecologist wants to strengthen the fight against abandonment and abuse by reinforcing sanctions. This is also what Marine Le Pen offers.

Changing institutions to better protect animals?

Several candidates, such as Yannick Jadot, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan or Nathalie Arthaud want to create a ministry especially dedicated to the animal condition if they are elected. Marine Le Pen and Yannick Jadot also want to create an Animal Rights Defender. Same idea on the part of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who wants an independent authority to respect animal protection.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Nathalie Arthaud and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan defend the constitutionalization of animal rights.

(1) All candidates’ proposals come from their written programs or their proposals made in the media. It is possible that other measures will be added to those presented above in the coming weeks.

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