Ever since Dumbo the flying elephant, the sky’s been the limit for animals. Over the years, squirrels have learned to water ski, penguins now waddle up the military ladder, and cats have harnessed their unique feline powers to helm train stations. As the furry infiltration continues even politics is no longer out of bounds, as evidenced by the following four-legged politicians.
Duke the dog
Mayor of Cormorant (Minnesota)
Accidentally elected in 2014, this loyal Pyrenees has since earned his keep, welcoming tourists to town, appearing in National Geographic, and being the fluffy face everyone wants to feed or take pictures with. Besides beating a human in a past election, he enjoys “one of the highest approval ratings in the country”, winning a third term with all the votes, except one that went to his girlfriend, Lassie.
Stubbs the cat
Mayor of Talkeetna (Alaska)
As a kitten up for adoption, the tailless Stubbs won against human candidates to become mayor of Talkeetna in 1997, and 19 years later he’s still in charge. Well loved for his “laissez-faire politics”, he never raised taxes or intervened in business, living out his political philosophy by snoozing all day. Not one to slow down, this lifelong learner settled right into the digital age, garnering a sizeable Twitter following with a wit as sharp as his claws. Ambitious to a fault, he’s also made it clear he’s not resting on his laurels. In his own words: “I’m a cat. I was elected Mayor in Alaska. Soon, I will become president.”
Clay Henry, the goat
Mayor of Lajitas (Texas)
Patriarch of a goat dynasty, Clay Henry the First was famous for helping himself to beer back in the 1970s. After a group from Houston jokingly voted one of their number to be Lajitas’ mayor, Clay Henry’s owner took offense, and 1,200 “votes” poured in from across the world for a Man vs. Goat election. Although the Houston group claimed victory via electoral fraud (calling a phone book a bloc vote), Clay Henry I eventually clinched the mayorship in a later election. As Lajitas’ mayor, he amused tourists with his beer-guzzling antics, until his fatal duel for the heart of a nanny goat. In memory of his services, the mayor has been stuffed, with a beer bottle poised in his mouth. His son’s short lived reign was followed by Clay Henry the Third, who was voted in over a wooden Indian and a dog named Clyde.
Cacareco the rhino
City Council Candidate of Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Image belongs to Coralie
The universe is a fair-minded individual. In exchange for a name like Cacareco (meaning ‘rubbish’), the five year old rhino from a local zoo also received a whopping 100,000 votes to be part of the city’s council, beating 540 other human candidates with 15% of the votes. And she didn’t even campaign. Apparently, widespread frustration with the political scene, high costs of living and scarcity of staple foods led to some people voting with black beans and others throwing their weight behind the rhino candidate. Though she was eventually disqualified, her political example has inspired others, leading to the formation of the Rhinoceros Party which satirizes Canadian politics.
Animal politicians don’t lie, don’t embezzle, and don’t engage in political mud-slinging – virtues that almost make up for their not doing anything. So next time you see a pigeon or a stray cat, treat them with kindness – who knows, you might be looking at your next MP.
Feature image belongs to Barbara Kinney
By Vincent Tan