Pets give Invercargill candidates common link

17:00, Aug 12 2014
Invercargill candidates
POLITICAL POTLUCK: Candidates (from left) Lesley Soper, Stephnie de Ruyter, Dave Kennedy and Sarah Dowie with their vegan dishes for a potluck dinner.

Four of the city's election candidates pushed their animal affiliations at the Invercargill Vegan Society's political potluck meeting last night, saying why they love animals, and taking along a favourite vegetable dish. Tina Law reports.


Democrats for Social Credit candidate Stephnie de Ruyter's backyard is a menagerie, but she admits to having a distrust of any animal taller than her.

"The horses, cows, llamas and anything that looks down on me. I'm not sure why, could be because I'm 5ft tall and I have issues."

Her pets - two cats, six bantams and two white ducks - simply arrived at her place one day and ended up staying. She called herself mostly vegetarian.

De Ruyter cooked a warm Moroccan quinoa salad with roast vegetables for the potluck dinner.



Lesley Soper's three chickens are "great characters". The trio were rescued from a battery farm a few months ago.

"We get a couple of eggs a day," the Labour candidate said.

Soper said animals were worthy of respect because they gave a lot to people.

"Animals are sentient beings with rights, not animals to be abused."

Veganism was something she had never practised, but she was briefly a vegetarian at university.

She prepared a favourite: Tabouli salad.


The Green Party's David Kennedy has been a vegetarian for 30 years. "I was living in the country, boarding with a family who ate meat for breakfast, lunch and for their evening meal. When I ended up flatting, I cut out meat."

He recently brought two hens home, and his cat, Pandora, is also a recent addition. Despite having pets, Kennedy said he would prefer animals lived in their natural environment. "I'm not against the farming of animals but I do think we're farming too many. . ." He took a cous cous vegetable dish for dinner.


National Party candidate Sarah Dowie loves animals.

She has owned five cats, five dogs and a guinea pig.

"Pets embody all the good things about human nature. They are great companions, they are loving."

When Dowie was younger, she did think about becoming a vegetarian but has never considered veganism. "I quite like dairy, so it would be a stretch too far. Animals deserve respect, but I eat meat."

She took a "glorified" lettuce salad for dinner.

The Southland Times