Australian animal rights activist James Aspey is running for office in New South Wales. He will be a candidate for the Animal Justice Party (AJP), aiming for a seat in Heathcote.

The party – which represents an animal rights perspective in Australian politics – posted about Aspey’s decision on its Facebook page.

“James has been a tireless advocate for animals, and took a vow of silence for a year in 2014 to raise awareness about the animals we exploit,” it wrote. “James will be an excellent voice speaking up for animals in New South Wales in the lead up to this election.”

Aspey added on his Instagram account, “Politics is an important part of the animal rights movement. With individual change from below and political change from above, we can achieve the abolition of animal exploitation even faster.”

Aspey is a key voice in vegan activism; he has appeared on TV around the world and consistently posts on his YouTube channel and other forms of social media, attempting to spread the word about animal rights and raise awareness of the reality of factory farming conditions.

His supporters include a number of celebrities, including American talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. The popular celeb and animal rights advocate shared one of Aspey’s videos last year on her Instagram account, to an audience of more than 52 million followers.

Aspey is among nearly 70 candidates fielded by AJP this year in New South Wales, a record amount for the group, which aims to “give a political voice” to the animals, according to its website. It achieves this through lobbying for animal protection bills and providing a political focus for animal rights issues that, in the past, have been ignored by other parties.

Vegan politician Michael Dello-lacovo – the former CEO of Effective Altruism Australia – is also running for a seat with AJP, he has even pledged to give half of his salary to animal welfare organizations if elected.

“I want to ensure that those [who] don’t get a vote – animals, the environment, and future generations – are represented in our political system,” Dello-lacovo said last year. “I see standing for the Animal Justice Party as an opportunity to get important issues that affect us, our future generations, and the animals in our care into parliament.”

The New South Wales elections will take place in March.


Image Credit: James Aspey