Since the European elections of 2019, where the Animalist Party had achieved 2.2%, she has felt growing wings. At 38, the lawyer from Gironde
Helene Thouy, who runs a cabinet in Langon, south of Bordeaux, has decided to run for the 2022 presidential election. 20 minutes met her in Bordeaux, for a coffee between two pleadings to defend animal protection associations.
What will be the role of the Animalist Party in this election, when some believe that there are already too many candidates?
The principle of a democracy is political pluralism. At what point do we decide that there are too many parties? Who would be eligible to run? If we follow this logic, we should therefore keep only the only two parties capable of qualifying for the second round? I consider that there is a filter which is already very severe, that of the 500 sponsorships. Our goal is for the animal question to become a major issue in our society. Not the most important, but one of the most important. We want to demonstrate that the animal question has impacts on most of the problems of our society, in terms of health – we have just experienced it with Covid-19, in terms of public health with the risks of cardiovascular disease, in terms of waste and food security… There is also the environmental and agricultural aspect.
But would it not be better to impose this subject in the public debate, rather than to present for the election a party solely devoted to this question?
It is because we have shown, with a party dedicated to this issue, that the subject weighs heavily on the election, that other political parties have started to worry about it. We have clearly seen this in the Europeans, which were a turning point, achieving 2.2% without media coverage, without means. For us, it is not a business, we really want the whole political spectrum to seize it, to obtain real progress for animals. But we are here to continue to put the pressure.
Where are you with the sponsorships?
It is always a difficulty to obtain sponsorship for a small political formation. But this is progressing and I am optimistic because we have a lot of people who are mobilized for the collection, and also because the mayors are aware that the animal question concerns citizens.
When are you going to present your program?
For the moment we continue to consult, in particular with experts, so that our program is most in line with scientific recommendations. We will release it in different stages, and at the same time our activists are already on the ground. Everything is falling into place, but we do not all campaign under the same conditions, even if I think that I will suspend my professional activity at the beginning of 2022.
And what would be your objective of result in this presidential election?
As with court decisions, I don’t make a prognosis! But we think we can score much better than in Europe.
Let’s go back to your journey. Have you become a lawyer to defend the animal cause?
Yes. At the time, the law had not invested in this field at all, there were very few cases and case law and for me it was an area to develop. But after a few years of exercise and activism, I ran up against the legislative side several times and I understood that these were the laws that had to be changed.
What led you to political engagement?
That’s it. We started to think about creating a party in 2014, and we launched it in 2016. Thanks also to the work of associations which have broken down a lot of barriers, we quickly found echo.
You are also one of L-214’s lawyers, whose actions are sometimes criticized …
When we talk about the “actions” of L-214, it is a question of broadcasting videos of what is happening in farms and slaughterhouses. For me that is a community role and it has clearly helped to put a lock on the way animals are treated, and to put the spotlight on what is going on in these places that are. particularly hidden.
How did you become a vegetarian yourself?
I stopped eating animals when I was 7 years old. It was complicated because I lived in the countryside in a small village, but it is also precisely because I was in rural environment in contact with animals that I could see their behavior, their sensitivity. It always shocked me to see my grandmother kill chickens, and I quickly made the connection between having to kill animals and eating them. Many children around the age of 7 are preoccupied by these questions, and the subject is too often dismissed, because it calls into question the education that we give to our children. However, we must listen to them, not reject, because this can be experienced as violence by these children.
Today, what is the objective of the Animalist Party, to ban the consumption of meat?
Not at all, it is not part of our program. We advocate a drastic reduction in animal products with the multiplication of vegetarian and vegan options in collective catering. Even the breeders with whom we talk a lot consider that it is normal to reduce our consumption. We want to propose measures in accordance with the acceptability of the citizens.