Whilst members of Quaker Concern for Animals gathered for our AGM at Friends’ House in London on Saturday, May 11, we held in the Light the anti-bullfight campaigners, who were holding a major two day rally in the corrida town of Alès.
CRAC Europe, the oldest association in the struggle for abolition of the bullfight, created in 1991, was the organiser of this international event, which we report below:
The Paris bus arrived in the vicinity of Alès on the morning of May 11 and a police patrol stopped us, asking where we were from, how many we were, and where we were staying. The police were cordial, gave us plans of the town and its off-limit areas and escorted us to Colombier park. Campaigners were waiting there behind a barrier and could not move out without good reason. There was concern among the demonstrators about the risk of being confined to an unfrequented part of town.
Riot police and officers in plain clothes were everywhere. Buses arrived, escorted by police.
The chief of police introduced himself, assuring us that he would do everything to make our stay in Alès pleasant – a good start !
Demonstrators contined to flow into the park, speaking French of course – including with Belgian accents, Catalan, Spanish, Italian and English, and when Jean-Pierre Garrigues, president of CRAC, arrived, we were very numerous in our famous red tee shirts, symbol of the demo.
First demonstration and first bullfight :
(Reminder: 6 bulls were tortured and killed at the bullfight)
Good news: the meeting with the Deputy Prefect on the evening before had been fruitful and the planned march route would allow us to approach the bullring and the fair.
An extract from a letter sent by Brigitte Bardot was read by Christophe Marie, of her Foundation.
National TV channels and newspaper reporters interviewed the speakers and campaigners.
The march set off and it was soon apparent that the majority of local residents supported us, some opening their windows to applaud.
This was the first time in my experience that a demonstration for an animal cause had been so warmly welcomed. We only came upon two people whose attitudes were aggressive and provocative. Support from the public was particularly obvious along the banks of the Gardon.
‘This is what bulls are like’ – the poster on the right shows Fadjen, the Spanish bull rescued by Christophe Thomas and now living in France.
When we arrived at the bullring, we saw that two barriers had been erected, manned by riot police.
Some bullfight supporters, coming out from the first corrida of the weekend, passed behind the police – one of them shouted out an insult which enraged campaigners. A request was made that they should be contained far away from us, since all efforts had been made to keep us at a distance!
The situation became charged, campaigners’ discontent was growing as they whistled and shouted their determination to make bullfighting torture disappear.
The police lost their cool and started using teargas. The deputy director of the Gard region himself admitted to Jean-Pierre Garrigues that it was the provocation of the bullfighting supporters and certain over-zealous police officers who had caused this slip-up.
At the same time, a lorry full of Camargue bulls was passing further down and somone on the top of the vehicle was striking the bulls with a pike. Plastic water bottles were thrown, and a chair at the person using a pike on the bulls, which is of course regrettable. Why had the authorities not simply closed the road lower down and avoided conflict? Someone on the lorry threw a stone and hit a demonstrator and an official complaint is being lodged.
Sunday 12 May, second demonstration and second corrida:
The next morning we were determined to get ourselves heard even more clearly. Paolo, an Italian cyclist, had come by bike from Turin: cycle for the bulls.
We followed a different route, but again felt the support of the vast majority of the local population. The speech by Jean-Marc Montegnies, who had attended the Saturday afternoon corrida in order to bear witness in words and pictures to the cruelty of the bullfight, moved the campaigners. It was shocking to hear that a young bull whose belly had been pierced by a sword and whose entrails were falling out was the subject of joking by the fans, who were comparing him to a Christmas tree.
Sunday afternoon, last demo and last corrida :
The sound system lorry with Jean-Pierre and 20 demonstrators carrying flags was allowed to enter the off-limits area of the fair, whilst the thousands of others stayed outside in accordance with police instructions, whistling and shouting for the abolition of the bullfight.
~ Jean-Pierre Garrigues, President of CRAC.
The demo ended with a few minutes of meditation in memory of the bulls tortured in Alès this weekend which we wanted to be the « week-end of abolition ». On Sunday, we reiterated our promise to rid Alès for ever of the shame of the bullfight – before moving on to the next town!
Thanks go to all the demonstrators and volunteers. Those who couldn’t attend this time, please join us !
Muriel FUSI, CRAC Europe representative for the Ile de France region.
Important: permission to use the photos has been granted, but QCA is happy to acknowledge them as the intellectual property of Jean-Pierre Garrigues, President of Comité Radicalement Anti-Corrida (CRAC)
Please support this very important event – if the cull goes ahead, many thousands of badgers will be killed. According to the DEFRA website, they will not distinguish between healthy and infected badgers, so the killing will be indiscriminate. This is despite the fact the cull is scientifically flawed, has been shown to possibly increase the spread of TB and is scapegoating an endangered species to hide poor farming practices.
A touching literary contribution from our member in Totnes Meeting, Heidi Stephenson:
(In homage to William Blake, a compassionate man who would have strongly opposed a badger cull – and his magnificent poem ‘The Tyger’.)
“Following the success of their vaccination project last year, we have given a further £5,000 to Somerset Badger Group to continue their efforts to vaccinate badgers – an initiative which will allow farmers to remove their land from the cull area and promote a humane alternative.
Network for Animals will continue to lobby politicians in both the British and European Parliament for sustainable alternatives in addition to working with our friends in Team Badger to raise awareness and campaign for an end to this madness…”
The new campaign leaflet is now available and you can view it here. To order, please e-mail email@example.com, stating quantity required and name and address for delivery. It is important to have these distributed as widely as possible so we look forward to receiving your orders in the near future and these will be processed as promptly as possible. If you require them for a particular date, please say so.
Un-cooped: Deconstructing the Domesticated Chicken
Our member in the Republic of Ireland, Sandra Higgins, Director of Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary tells us thatthree of their residents will feature in the forthcoming online portrait exhibition at the National Museum of Animals & Society, entitled Un-cooped: Deconstructing the Domesticated Chicken.
Here are – on the left, Matilda, and on the right, Joy, soon after rescue:
The exhibition will also feature a synopsis of Enriched Cages and Embodied Prisons (in press), a report produced by Matilda’s Promise Animal Rights & Vegan Education Centre on the exploitation of egg laying hens by the humans who consume their eggs, detailing how the 2012 EU Ban on Battery Cages has resulted in an increase in the exploitation and rights violations of hens, which is characteristic of a welfare approach to non-human exploitation in non-vegan society.
From the catalogue notes: Homo sapiens and Gallus gallus domesticus share a long and complex history, from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the cockfighting pits of ancient Rome, from the Victorian show ring to the modern day factory farm. Human attitudes toward chickens are likewise vast, ranging from creation myths that revere chickens and the egg in the formulation of the world, to dismissals of chickens as dull and foolish.
Enriched Cages & Embodied Prisons
‘Enriched Cages & Embodied Prisons’ examines the effect of the ban on barren battery cages on the hens who are exploited by the egg industry, exploring the similarity between barren cages and the new ‘enriched’ or ‘furnished’ battery cage system of confinement. It explores how the ban has coincided with an increase in the consumption of eggs which is highly likely to be due to appeasement of what used to be the leading cause of public awareness of animal rights violations, a fact that will not have been lost on the animal agricultural industry that supported the ‘ban’…
‘Colombia is home to 759 known species of amphibians. These species are facing extreme threats due to the country’s dense human population. Habitat destruction, harmful pesticides, climate change and overharvesting are contributing to the decline of amphibians in Colombia.
SAVE THE FROGS! Colombia is a non-profit volunteer organization based in Cali, Colombia. Our mission is to protect Colombia’s amphibian populations and to promote a society that respects and appreciates nature and wildlife.
We are the first South American branch of USA-based SAVE THE FROGS!
These are Pristimantis palmeri.
Our general aims and objectives:
SAVE THE FROGS! Colombia will educate the public about the importance of amphibians and strengthen their appreciation of Colombia’s amphibian populations; empower students and researchers to become amphibian conservationists in Colombia; observe Save The Frogs Day and work to get proper recognition in Colombia.
Conference April 22 – 27 2013, Supata-Cundinamarca - Celebrating the Protection of Amphibians and their Habitats
We will develop educational materials in Spanish. These materials will illustrate the importance of amphibians, the threats they face, and how people can help ensure their survival. Printed copies will be distributed at schools, community bulletin boards, conferences, and university biology departments. Digital copies will be made available on www.savethefrogs.com/colombia for widespread international access.
We will also assist SAVE THE FROGS! USA with their worldwide amphibian conservation efforts.’
TBVAC is a Totnes – based group committed to the vaccination of as many badgers in the South Devon area as possible, with an emphasis on neighbouring sites to reduce pockets of non – vaccination.
We aim to get this up and operational before the resumption of this summer’s badger cull, because the South Hams may be next in line to host a cull in 2014. If a cull zone doesn’t have 70% of area of land taking part, then a cull cannot proceed…so if we can get 30% or more of South Devon refusing to cull, or have gone with vaccination instead, a cull cannot go ahead in this area.
We have a better than average chance of getting badgers vaccinated here around Totnes, thanks to organic farming methods and farmers caring for the environment and its wildlife, than many places in the UK.
We are looking for: Landowners and farmers who want their badgers vaccinated.
People with badger or wildlife handling experience who would like to train to vaccinate badgers, and who would be willing to vaccinate badgers for anyone who asks for it. We have more than 12 experienced people ready to train but we would welcome more experienced potential vaccinators, particularly from the farming community.
Networkers who can approach landowners to offer vaccination, particularly if they neighbour other vaccination farms.
People good at fundraising to pay for licences, training, equipment and vaccines.
Donations can be made via bank transfer to Account number: 65635779 Sort Code: 089299
If you would like to join our Facebook group, just type in Totnes Badger Vaccination Action Campaign to find TBVAC.
Alternatively call 07773902702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
TBVAC website coming soon.
Badger vaccination is already being implemented by some landowners and wildlife trusts in Great Britain, and by the Welsh Government.
Badger vaccination is an acceptable, science-led and benign low-risk option.
Badger vaccination is a first step to a comprehensive UK livestock and badger vaccination strategy.
Totnes Badger Vaccination Action Campaign (TBVAC)
We are lay vaccinators, with experience of handling livestock and wildlife, and are giving our time freely to vaccinate as many badgers as possible in Devon against bTB. We are particularly keen to vaccinate badgers in neighbouring farms to give contiguous vaccination. We will not be making a charge for our time, licences or equipment.
Reasons to vaccinate:
Taking part in a badger cull is expensive. A bounty of £20 has to be paid on the head of every badger killed, plus the time of the huntsman and money towards his licence. We will only charge £10 per badger for the vaccine, and if we can secure the funding, we will charge nothing at all.
Culling will not improve the bTB situation, and may make the situation worse, by disturbing the resident population which may be healthy. Many scientists have researched the effect of culling and all have concluded it won’t help farmers control bTB in their cattle. Vaccination has been proven to reduce bTB infection in badgers and to reduce the infectiveness of badgers which have already caught bTB.
You have a choice. Taking part in a badger cull is not compulsory. You can chose to have your badgers killed, vaccinated or do nothing at all.
95% of the British public oppose the cull, and many will refuse to buy produce from cull zones. To take part in a badger cull will be a public relations disaster.
Bovine TB and the badger cull,
On 30th March, an evening with Steven Jones was organised in Rattery, Devon.
The NFU backed by this coalition Government seems set to embark on a pilot badger cull this summer despite an increasingly vocal opposition.
My name is Steven Jones and I have a wealth of experience in the livestock industry. I do not believe that the free shooting of badgers will address the bovine TB problem. With this in mind, I will be doing a range of talks throughout the country that will highlight the areas that I see as far more beneficial to the livestock industry. I hope to eventually grind to a halt this misconceived and unscientific policy that will benefit no one, especially not the farming communities that it is supposedly aimed at helping.
Not since the war years has the farmer needed the support of the consumer so much. The public are prepared to pay a premium for home grown traceable produce. Now is not the time to jeopardise the real coalition that will benefit us all; the partnership between the farmers and their customers.
For more details about this badger vaccination project, please contact:
Ama Menec, Unit 2 Coombe Park, Ashprington, Totnes, Devon.
I am passionate about the need for wilderness and the plight of Britain’s endangered animals. My animal sculptures and wall plaques focus primarily on threatened species in the UK, and celebrate the success stories and are stylistically inspired by etchings, woodblock prints, early 20th century illustration and Art Deco stone carving. My earliest influences as a teenager were the Natural History, Archaeology and Anthropology museums of Cambridge, and they inspire me still.
Pollen collector – by kind permission of Jan Sheppard.
On April 29, with, for the second time, no majority among environment ministers to ban them, the European Commission took the decision to impose a moratorium on three neonicotinoid pesticides.
The rally on April 26 saw campaigners from Avaaz, Buglife, Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Pesticide Action Network UK, RSPB, and the Soil Association turn up in Westminster to show the environment minister how important the protection of our bees is to us.
A small group of 38 Degrees members delivered the 250,000-strong petition direct to Owen Paterson, our environment minister.
This is Dharati – meaning Earth – with her mother Ganga.
Happy Earth Day everyone – from the Wildlife Trust of India!
We are grateful to the Wildlife Trust of India for allowing us to report on this good news:
A rhino, hand-reared by people and rehabilitated in Manas National Park in India as part of the species reintroduction programme, has given birth in the wild, for the first time in the country.
The new mother, Ganga, was rescued as a three-month-old calf during the annual floods in Kaziranga National Park in July 2004, by the Assam Forest Department.
She was hand-raised by veterinarians and animal keepers at the IFAW- Wildlife Trust of India (WTI)- run Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Kaziranga.
The new born is a healthy female and has been named Dharati, meaning earth, as a tribute.
Vivek Menon, Executive Director, WTI, and Regional Director – South Asia, IFAW, said, “This is very special for all of us. The situation of rhinos across the world has been depressing, with so many poached for their horns in the past year. In this seemingly-bleak scenario, the instances like this are what keep us optimistic and spirited to do more.”
To read all about Ganga’s story and see more pictures go here.
And lots more news of the excellent work of this group on www.wti.org.in
You stood in the wind and rain for two hours to say “ NO, not in my name”, to the issue of live animal exports from Ireland. Click here to watch some short footage of the event. Click here for an Irish Times article. Click here for more pictures.
It was by far the largest attendance at a weekday event held by ARAN for some time, with well over 100 people outside the Department of Agriculture in Dublin together with Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) to call for an end to the resumption of live animal exports from Ireland to the Middle East.
Since the resumption, over 6,000 Irish animals have been sent to a country to which the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has advised Irish people not to travel. This very same country does not enforce any type of animal welfare laws or guidelines.
The resumption of exports to the Middle East comes after more than a ten-year hiatus, with the first shipment going out from Belview Port in Waterford. Already Irish farming media are reporting the trade is to be stepped up, with even more animals being shipped in the near future. This is an absolute welfare nightmare for the animals who will have to endure this terrible suffering.
On the day of the rally, we also had the Vegetarian Society of Ireland speak about the benefits of going veggie. This group has been incredibly helpful to ARAN’s events over the years, and we thank them. We also had support from various Irish animal protection groups with whom we work with. Media coverage was good in newspapers and fantastic on radio stations along with speaking to RTE’s Agriculture Correspondent.
ARAN and CIWF have informed the Department of Agriculture and Minister Simon Coveney of our concerns regarding the welfare of the animals being sent to Libya. This entails a grueling ten-day journey for the many thousands of animals, who will no doubt be confused and frightened, not knowing what is happening. At their destination in Libya the slaughter methods are often halal, and this is where the worst suffering will take place.
ARAN is against the killing of all animals. Whilst we would prefer that no animals would be sent for slaughter, we must realise this is happening, so for the animals that have to endure such a fate, we will work to lessen their suffering until we can bring about a day where no animals have to be killed.
QCA note: We repeatedly write to the minister on this matter and sent a message of support to the demonstrators from us, the Unitarians, our patrons Nitin Mehta with his group The Young Indian Vegetarians, and André Menache, veterinarian. We also informed the Compassionate Muslim group in Canada and they sent their statement of support too.
If you have not already signed, here is the petition – please note, the photo is graphic: