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.
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)
I’ve recently embarked on a long-term project to draw and paint the rescue parrots who live permanently at the Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, near Lewes, East Sussex.
The Centre boasts modern facilities for all kinds of rescue animals and these temporary homes for small mammals who will be re-homed, are particularly imaginative, ensuring their stay is as enjoyable as possible. So many small creatures are kept in tiny cages, largely bereft of objects with which the animals can engage. But here, as you can see, the staff have used great creativity in using recycled objects to create comfort and interest and encourage activity for rats, hamsters, mice and gerbils, helping keep them busy and happy.
These photographs demonstrate the staff’s imaginative use of everyday objects. All manner of household bits and pieces, including egg and sweets boxes, shredded newspaper and components of non-dangerous domestic appliances objects etc… are made into hammocks, platforms, tubes to run along, ladders, and materials with which to shred and build.
Raystede offers a whole range of activities for adults and children, as well, including educational events on animal care for local schools.
Ann will continue to report on her time at Raystede over the coming months.
“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…”
Have you ordered your badger materials yet for our Day of Action on Saturday, May 18? They are flying out the door, but the more people that take part the more effective we can be together as a voice for badgers – and other animals affected by the dairy industry.
Did you know that these trials are simply to see how cost-effective it is to shoot badgers and to measure how much badgers will suffer? They won’t even be tested for TB. And that is because over 80 per cent of them will be free of the disease.
Did you also know that these trials are only the tip of the iceberg, and this mass extermination of wildlife could be rolled out across England in the coming years?
The new campaign leaflet is now available and you can view it here. To order, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Badger Night Walkers will be supporting a national Badger Trust event at Secret World Wildlife Rescue on Sunday 19th May, starting at 10.00am. We need a large number of people for this to be a success so please bring as many of your family, friends, neighbours etc. as possible for a no admission fun day. Free face painting for children and badgers, foxes and many other animals to see. Bring a picnic or catering van will be on site. Lovely gardens or walk in the fields. Filming will be taking place only by permission. Rehearsal at 10.30 a.m. if you wish to take part. Final take at 3 p.m.
The state of Sonora, in the west of Mexico, with 3 million inhabitants, has just banned the bullfight within the jurisdiction, the first Mexican state to do so. Sonora is one of the biggest states and one of the most densely populated.
The local Congress voted unanimously for a new animal protection law – sponsored by the Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM) – Green Ecology Party of Mexico – banning the bullfight in all its forms.
The law also obliges communities to provide free sterilisation for companion animals.
Fines of up to 400 days of salary may be imposed and prison of up to four years in cases of non-compliance.
The new law will be enforced in the state of Sonora three days after its publication in the Official Gazette.
We shall write to thank the congressman, pointing out, however, the need to extend judicial protection to all animals; cockfighting, horse shows and circuses with animals are unfortunately not affected by this legislation.
Our friend Ara Ferris, Mexican ambassador for World Animal Day, describes this as a great step forward and also reports that four towns in the state of Veracruz are already anti-corrida: Teocelo, Fortín de las Flores, Xalapa and Boca del Río.
Yet another instance of cruelty inflicted on animals exported to Egypt:
From North Queensland Register on 03 May, 2013:
Live export industry members are moving to address a fresh crisis today (Friday), amid reports of an alleged complaint of animal cruelty towards Australian cattle in Egypt.
Industry sources are saying exports have been voluntarily suspended to the facilities in question, effectively suspending all cattle exports to Egypt.
It’s understood the complaint is based on vision from Animals Australia which could also appear in television media at a later date, as per previous allegations.
A statement posted on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) website today has confirmed a complaint has been received about alleged animal welfare concerns in Egyptian abattoirs and is being investigated…
And on May 5, 2013, from The Sydney Morning Herald:
New footage shows extreme cruelty to cattle in Egyptian slaughterhouses the Australian industry has previously described as ”state of the art”.
Exports of livestock to Egypt were suspended after animal welfare group Animals Australia handed the graphic evidence to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry last week. The footage has not been made public, but Mr Ludwig [the minister] has described it as ”sickening”.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said all animal abuse was repulsive to Australians and the export industry.
Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said this was more evidence is the government was failing to prevent cruelty…
Campaigners in Australia say this news should be aired at 7.30 on the ABC tomorrow night – this was the channel which covered, among others, the cruel treatment of animals in Indonesian slaughterhouses.
QCA is grateful to our contact in Canada, Anila Muhammad, who wrote an article for The Huffington Post, of which this is an extract:
Is Being a Vegan or Vegetarian at Odds with Being Muslim?
Interestingly enough, the idea of Muslims being vegetarian or vegans has prompted some debate. Islamic scholars such as the late Egyptian scholar Gamal al-Banna agree that Muslims who choose vegetarianism/veganism can do so for a number of reasons including a personal expression of faith or spirituality.
Al-Banna has stated “When someone becomes vegetarian they do so for a number of reasons: compassion, environment and health reasons. As a Muslim, I believe that the Prophet (Muhammad) would want followers to be healthy, compassionate and not destroy our environment. If someone believes not eating meat is that way, it is not like they are going to go to hell for it. It may be the right thing to do.”
Yusuf believes the fallout of industrialized meat production — the abuse of animals, the detrimental impact to the environment and human health, the link of such a system to the exasperation of global hunger — is at odds with his understanding of Islamic ethics. In his view animal rights and protection of the environment are not foreign concepts to Islam but a divine mandate. And his research indicates that the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, and most early Muslims were semi-vegetarians, consuming meat on occasion.
‘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 email@example.com
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.