Power to animals, fiction or reality? In some cities around the world and especially in the United States, residents have chosen to symbolically elect a dog, a pony or even a goat as the head of their town. So what are the animals that have seduced the hearts of voters and how can this seemingly crazy gesture sometimes carry a political message?
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Patrick the Pony, Lincoln the goat, animals elected mayors
Do you know the crazy story of Patrick, a 4-year-old shetlander, elected (symbolically) mayor of Cockington, a small town in England? Much appreciated by the inhabitants of the County of Devon for his therapeutic work in hospitals and schools, this pony was propelled to the head of the town hall of his village, following the death of the mayor in 2019. For Patrick to meet his constituents, a enclosure was even created in the garden of his favorite pub: the Drum Inn.
But his new function, obviously not to the taste of all the members of the municipal council, earned him a complaint and the exclusion of the pub. A Facebook page “The Adventures of Patrick Le Poney” was then quickly created by Kirk Petrakisson, its happy owner, to support the animal. Like Patrick, animals have been given the symbolic task of administering cities in the United States or Canada. And there are plenty of examples, including:
- A Border Collie 2-year-old named Gus, was elected mayor of Dawson City in Canada in October 2021. To assist him, a parallel municipal council was also submitted to the vote of voters… It is of course exclusively composed of dogs.
- Bosco dog was the invincible mayor of the city of Sunol, California for 13 years between 1981 and 1994. Now deceased, a statue has been made in honor of his exemplary mandate.
- The Lincoln Goat was elected mayor of Fair Haven located in Vermont in the United States in 2019.
- A french bulldog was elected in 2020 at Rabbit Hash, still in the United States.
- Cat Sweet Tart was promoted to mayor of Omena in 2018, Michigan
- A goat was elected in 1922 in Fortaleza, Brazil, he was the first animal in the world to access a municipal position.
Elect an animal, symbol of a rejection of the electoral system?
If animal nominations are often made to promote a city or a cause, as was the case in Dawson, Canada (the funds held were reversed to a shelter that takes care of abandoned and abused animals ), in other cases, the stated objective is to put on the table an issue that is very little mentioned, or even completely ignored during electoral campaigns: the animal cause. The latest example is Mimichette, a little cat whose candidacy for the French presidential elections of 2022 has been supported by thousands of Internet users, by signing a petition. “The animal cause cannot wait any longer“, insisted his mistress.
Also, behind the symbol, sometimes hides a real criticism of the electoral system, which the animal voters thus try to turn to ridicule. An electoral gesture that may seem ridiculous, but which carries a real political message that could be summed up as follows: an animal is better than a politician. It is true that, unlike the chosen ones of the human species, animals have the advantage of being incorruptible and altruistic, in addition to being particularly cute.
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Has an animal ever been a candidate for an election in France?
As such, in France, we remember Saucisse. This dog collected by the SPA after being found in a trash can, a real known success story. Adopted by the writer Serge Scotto, he has indeed become the mascot of the publishing house in which his master worked, and the hero of many detective novels. An advertisement which earned him a certain notoriety in Marseille, so that he was a candidate in the municipal elections of 2001.
Slogan son? “For a more human sausage, against a dog’s life!“Saucisse was unfortunately not elected, but still managed to collect 4.5% of the vote. And even attempted the French presidential election of 2002. If the writer had been able to collect the five hundred signatures of elected, there is no doubt that he would have overshadowed the presidential duel of the time. So, will we one day see an animal run for the presidency in France? Nothing is less certain because given the conditions eligibility to fill, it would seem that men are doing everything to stay in power.
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