- In its program common to all its candidates in the municipal elections, the National Gathering proposes to establish a mutual insurance company for pets at reduced prices.
- If the measure is out of place among the RN’s program for municipalities, focused on taxation and security, Marine Le Pen’s party has nonetheless taken hold of the animal cause for a few years, in particular since 2016.
- By talking to animal friends, the RN addresses a large reservoir of voices, and supports an evolution of society, more sensitive to animal welfare.
Marine Le Pen’s party, which is lacking in local roots, takes municipal elections very seriously. To conquer beyond the ten cities it has managed since 2014, the National Gathering is focusing in particular on animals, or rather their owners. Unveiled during the presentation of the movement’s strategy for the ballot on January 12, an explosive proposal among the program common to all aspiring RN mayors. Between promises not to increase local taxes and to fight crime, the party thus undertakes to negotiate a mutual insurance company for pets, which would be offered to citizens at prices below those of the market. This measure allows him to target a potential electorate of several million people, with a consensual theme.
A Poitevin initiative
The idea was born in Buxerolles, in the northern suburbs of Poitiers, in September, and more precisely in the mind of Arnaud Fage, head of the RN list at the municipal level. « Going door to door, I found that many people were suffering from isolation, and that their companion was a pet. This comes at a cost, and these isolated people often have little or no means, ”says the nurse.
The 30-year-old then imagines, on the model of municipal mutuals, to negotiate for his constituents, if he becomes mayor, a grouped tariff for animal mutual insurance. « The town hall plays the role of intermediary, it negotiates the tariff, subscribes, but it is not there to pay for the insurance. It costs zero euros, just the cost of a form to survey residents and find out how many are interested, « said the 30-year-old owner of five cats.
A voice reservoir
What he did by distributing a thousand leaflets in the town of 10,000 inhabitants in October.
👉 Presentation of our proposal to create a municipal mutual for Buxerollois animals.
➡️ Our goal: To reduce the cost of veterinary care for Buxerollois who have subscribed to this mutual🐕🐈🐇🐦🐕🐈🐇🐦 # National Gathering #MarineLePen #Buxerolles pic.twitter.com/Xv2iyS8OnQ
– Arnaud Fage (@AFageofficiel) October 23, 2019
The initiative did not go unnoticed at the RN. In November, during a meeting at HQ in Nanterre, Arnaud Fage, as departmental manager for Vienne, presented his campaign promise to Marine Le Pen, who also lives with several cats. « She thought it was a great idea and asked me to show her my leaflets, my visuals, » remembers the RN executive. The promise of a mutual for animals was finally found in the joint program for the municipal authorities, and defended by all the RN candidates, in Maubeuge or
Quimper for example.
The potential voice reservoir certainly has a lot to do with it. « One in two households has at least one pet, » recalls Daniel Boy, director of research at Sciences Po Paris. « It is an electorate whose sociology is very varied, and which the parties do not address, with the exception of the Animalist Party and environmentalists. » More broadly, six out of ten French people say that measures for the animal cause would encourage them to vote for a municipal candidate, according to a survey carried out in January by Ifop for the 30 million Friends Foundation. The party thus follows « an evolution of society, more attentive to questions related to animal welfare, which are more publicized », observes the researcher.
The breakthrough of the very young Animalist Party in the European elections in May 2019 illustrates this development.
Marine Le Pen, animal lover
Without counting the benefits in terms of image: « defending the animal cause can also participate in a form of demonization because the subject is consensual and sympathetic », underlines Daniel Boy.
🐈 🐕 Many abandoned cats and dogs are currently in shelters. Make them a small place in your home, they will take a big place in your heart. MLP #CatInternationalDay pic.twitter.com/k9asgw3L6f
– Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) August 8, 2018
For several years, the president of RN has put forward (and staged) her love for animals (and especially cats), both in her positions and her pages on social networks. « I see how much she loves animals, » says Annika Bruna, MEP, who « personally » knows the president of RN. « She has a special affection for cats and in fact has several in her home. » Presidential candidate, she had also dedicated part of her
program in 2017 for « animal welfare », which she wanted to make a « national priority ». The theme also makes it possible to approach very political subjects: it is by denouncing « animal suffering » that Marine Le Pen takes it out on
« Halal slaughter » and « the import of agricultural products that do not meet French animal welfare standards ».
For the municipal election, the RN relies more on pets than on questions of breeding or pesticides. « This is a more consensual theme, which does not offend the agricultural electorate, » adds Daniel Boy. « We can take voices without losing them ». Sunday, Marine Le Pen announced on Twitter to support the creation of shelters for stray cats for municipal. « Our mayors have set an example in terms of animal welfare, » says Annika Bruna, citing an open refuge in Hayange and Villers-Cotterêts, or an educational farm in Mantes-la-ville.
🐱 This is a welcome initiative for our animal friends! These stray cats sometimes live in terrible conditions. I send all our candidates to the municipal! MLPhttps: //t.co/da4GEHuBiW
– Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) February 9, 2020
But other parties are also taking up this theme. On February 6, the president of the Ile-de-France region, the ex-LR Valérie Pécresse, presented a plan for animals, providing for « a permit to adopt », financial aid for shelters or dedicated spaces for pets and an “animal friendly city” label. « We have been defending the animal cause for a long time and not only in the context of municipal elections, » says Annika Bruna. At RN, they claim to have been « avant-garde in this field ».