A new campaign, led by a pigeon called Tony, has been launched to create an ‘Animal Mayor’ for Lewisham who would represent all animal species and the environment.
Tony Pigeon’s campaign is run by a group of MA Design students at Goldsmiths, University of London, which is based in Lewisham: Adam Kirby, Daniel Whitcroft, Fan Zhang and Sihang Cheng.
Kirby, the campaign manager who speaks on the behalf of Tony Pigeon, explained to ELL that the inspiration behind this unusual campaign is to help the “Lewisham people’s relationship with the environment.” He says the campaign is a “provocative attempt to grab people’s attention and get them thinking.”
Speaking on behalf of Tony Pigeon, he told EastLondonLines: “I’m a pigeon and as such offer a different point of view on how we should plan Lewisham. I’m the first truly trans-species candidate and view the rights of all human and non-human animals equally. From the endangered Black Redstarts on Convoys Wharf to my fellow pigeons in Margaret McMillan Park – the street homeless humans to mayor Damien Egan, I want to represent them all and find a way we can work better together.”
He added: “I believe animal rights can be the focus for how we better tackle climate change. For 500 years the wants and needs of humans have damaged the planet and it’s often animals who suffer the most.
“I was inspired by the work of Jennifer Wolch as a tangible way to address this often abstract and huge challenge. If we consider the needs of animals in our cities we would naturally address the impact our actions have on the environment.”
“As a pigeon, I offer a unique view on the human and animal relationship. Pigeons have been the oldest domesticated animal and have lived amongst humans for thousands of years.”
“Mike Tyson is a fan, Pablo Picasso had numerous paintings of us, Nikola Tesla, the man known for his innovations around electricity was also inspired by us. If humans can see in three colours, us pigeons can see in five. We’re super loyal, mating for life and returning home to roost and raise their young year after year.”
Kirby insisted that Tony’s mayoral campaign is not a “direct challenge to the Mayor’s work but a provocation” for residents and the local authority to place greater importance on non-human issues. He also insisted that Egan and the Council are doing a “good job in the face of funding cuts, and the challenges they face are almost insurmountable.”
Kirby also reflected on Tony pigeon’s views on the recently demolished Tidemill garden. Tidemill Garden is a green land that was destroyed by Lewisham Council so that they can develop new homes on the property, it faced many protests that still persist now.
He told ELL: “The Tidemill demolition is a terrible blow for the local ecology and has been badly handled by borough. I think it is a testament to an anthropocentric and capitalist view of the world. If animal interests were added to the concerns of the local community we might have had a chance to save those mature trees.”
To find and support the petition for the creation of an ‘animal mayor’, click here.