Candidate of the Animalist Party for the legislative elections in Paris, Muriel Fusi devotes most of her free time to fighting for the protection of animals. The challenge, for her, is not to be elected but to impose the animal cause as a major theme.
The meeting was brought forward by one hour, Saturday, June 4, due to warnings of threatening storms in Paris. It is 3 p.m. and Muriel Fusi, candidate for the Animalist Party in the 13e Parisian constituency (located in the southern part of 15e district) for the legislative elections of June 12 and 19, found Lionel, Alexis and Jean-Luc, other activists of the animal cause, for a tractor at Porte de Versailles.
At this moment, it is big blue and the sun is beating down. The small troop calls out to the tram users who are waiting at the stop. The clouds are inconspicuous, but so are the potential voters. Between foreign tourists and unconcerned voters, the distribution of leaflets does not go as planned. A strategic error which reminds us that the Animalist Party remains a young party, created in 2016 and dependent on the energy of committed citizens.
“We are a small party, so we cannot afford to stop working or to employ people to take care of communication or organization, regrets Muriel Fusi, 42. We do everything we -Same. I am a corporate lawyer, but as soon as I have free time, I dedicate it to the animal cause. I spend my evenings, my weekends, my holidays there.”
The decision was made to fall back on the very busy intersection of rue de Vaugirard and rue de la Convention, located a few hundred meters further north. On the sidewalk opposite, David Amiel, the candidate of the presidential party in the same constituency, is also present, no doubt a sign that the hunt for voters should be much better here.
“I have always been keen to defend animals and it will never stop, says the candidate. My grandparents had a farm in Isère, so I was lucky enough to be in contact with chickens, ducks, rabbits. I was immediately convinced that the animals were not treated as they should be, that their sensitivity was not taken into account, that they suffered unfair treatment because they were regarded as objects.”
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The click of the commitment comes at her 30th birthday, when she discovers on the Internet videos of the association L214 denouncing the mistreatment of animals in slaughterhouses. Muriel Fusi then embarked on activism within several associations, including L214 and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.
“But I ended up realizing the limits of militant and associative action, and I said to myself that more had to be done, in particular at the political level, where everything is at stake. The Animalist Party has created around the same time, so I quickly joined.”
“A growing concern among people”
The current context, marked by the question of purchasing power, is not imposed favorable to the animal cause. There are also many citizens who do not have the head for the legislative elections and who immediately refuse the leaflets handed out without even looking at what it is about. But, from time to time, some stop.
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“It’s an important subject. We eat too much meat and I am against the undignified conditions in which animals are raised to kill them,” said Catherine, 73, an undecided left-wing voter. the New People’s Ecological and Social Union (Nupes). “I don’t really like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, so I’m annoyed. I might vote for the Animalist Party.”
A little later, Christine, 59, comes to ask for leaflets. Acquired to the cause, she explains that it was her daughter, 22, who converted her. As for the 2019 European elections, she will again vote for the Animalist Party in the legislative elections.
“We really feel that this is a growing concern among people, judge Muriel Fusi. After the Europeans, we had an influx of members and people who want to be candidates. So much so that we had to make a selection. We had 147 legislative candidates in 2017. We are presenting 421 this year.”
According to an Ifop poll published in September 2021, 84% of French people consider animal protection important and 47% of French people believe that the proposals of candidates for the presidential election on this subject could influence their vote.
“When we give a leaflet, we plant seeds”
The Animalist Party won 1.17% of the vote in the 2017 legislative elections and 2.16% in the European elections two years later. “We hope to do better in 2022, especially since many voters were frustrated at not being able to vote for us in the presidential election,” says Muriel Fusi. The party’s candidate, Hélène Thouy, had failed to obtain the 500 sponsorships necessary to run.
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If these scores do not elect deputies, they do make it possible to make the animal cause a subject we talk about. “What matters are not the candidates. Me, I am not trying to be famous and, moreover, our photos are not even on our leaflets, underlines Muriel Fusi. We fight above all for the animal cause and to impose this theme on the big parties so that it is taken into consideration.
The Animalist Party campaigns in particular for the end of intensive and industrial breeding, the creation of a Ministry of Animal Condition, the ban on hunting, bullfights, cockfights and even dolphinariums.
“In fact, when you give out a leaflet, you plant seeds, believes the candidate. We hope that people will read it once they are seated in the metro and that they will ask themselves questions. afterwards, sometimes it takes a little time.”
The strategy is gradually bearing fruit since the subject was mentioned by most presidential candidates. A law against animal abuse was even adopted in 2021 by the government. Concrete advances that keep the flame of Muriel Fusi intact. It’s almost 5 p.m. on this Saturday afternoon and the rain is finally falling. Time to pack up for activists of the Animalist Party.