Lawful Protest

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“Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.”  Lord Justice Sedley in Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions (1999) 7 BHRC 375 , 382-383

If getting no response from Raystede is making you feel disheartened, don’t be. I assure you your complaints are being heard.  And they’re getting a response, even if it’s not directly to you.  Remember back in May I told you that Raystede’s trustees made a complaint to Moonpig when they received a card with a photograph of a slaughtered cow on it?  Well, last month, the sender of that card received this email from a police ‘Resolution Investigator’:

Police have received reports from 3 trustees at Raystede animal centre regarding an allegation of harassment from individuals protesting around the café at the location. The trustees have reported receiving a large number of letters and cards to their home addresses and they have also reported animals being adopted [sponsored] on their behalf from a location in Norfolk.

The reason I’m contacting you is because a data protection request was sent to Moonpig.com about a card featuring a slaughterhouse that was sent to the trustees and caused alarm to the receivers. It was confirmed to have been ordered from this email address with your name as account holder. Police have also spoken to the animal centre in Norfolk [Hillside Animal Sanctuary] and they have confirmed that a Ms XXXX of [the same address] has adopted animals for the trustees without their knowledge or permission.

Police have reviewed all of the evidence provided to us by the trustees and have been informed that none of the material sent to them is deemed threatening and this email is to give words of advice about your future conduct regarding this matter as the communications that the trustees have received at their home addresses have been unwanted and has caused them alarm and distress.

Harassment is defined as ‘A behaviour which is repeated and unwanted by the victim and causes the victim to have a negative reaction in terms of alarm or distress.’

If you and your family wish to continue your protest in a peaceful manner please do so but be mindful of the above harassment definition.

Please respond if you wish to, Police will not be taking any further action regarding this matter at this time.

Kind Regards

Resolution Centre
Force Contact Command and Control Centre
Tel 01273 470 101 or 101
Email – irc@sussex.pnn.police.uk

The response to this polite warning was equally polite:

Thank you for this information. As you understand we have a legitimate cause for protest as Raystede trustees are acting in contravention of their own governing documents by causing unnecessary suffering to animals instead of preventing it.

For years many concerned members of the public have written directly to the Raystede sanctuary address, requesting that they stop serving animal products in their cafe but not a single response has been received. They left people with no choice but to write directly to the trustees whose responsibility it is to follow the charity’s governing documents.

Our protest has been peaceful, lawful and polite at all times – a simple letter writing campaign and petition – and will continue to be so. The image of the cow in the slaughterhouse is something none of us want to look at but people who pay for it to happen have no right to complain. The sponsorship of animals from a sanctuary in Norfolk were gifts from my daughter to the trustees in the hope that they would have sympathy for these animals and soften their hearts towards them.

If the trustees want the campaign to stop they can make it stop very easily by refusing to pay for animals to be enslaved and butchered for their cafe. It is a very simple and reasonable request which can very easily be accomplished and would enable them to save many more animals. I have no idea why they are so reluctant to do it.

Best wishes,

Mrs XXXXXX

So please don’t think your letters aren’t making a difference. They really are.

Thank you so much for your persistence.

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Now then, Christmas is approaching so let’s send the Raystede trustees some polite, non-threatening Christmas cards asking them ever so politely to please make their cafe vegan.  Addresses at the bottom of this petition update 🙂

Wishing you a very Merry Vegan Christmas and a Happy Vegan New Year 😀

See you in 2019 😀

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vegan, animals, animal rights, animal welfare, protest, animal cruelty

 

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Mercy On Us!

Miss Raymonde Hawkins for petition site

No one at Raystede has done us the honour of replying to our requests but they have talked behind our backs. They have told a local newspaper journalist that Raystede is “an animal welfare charity, not an animal rights charity”. They have changed the wording on the cafe page of their website, claiming that they have “extensive vegetarian and vegan options” and “any meat and dairy comes from high welfare farming systems”. And they have re-written their founder’s bio on the About page to include the assertion that she was in fact not veggie or vegan because she sometimes ate fish. All this in an effort to justify continuing to fund unnecessary animal suffering. I never met her but I think I know what Miss Raymonde-Hawkins would have said to that. In Mercy On Us!, published in 1967, she wrote:

“It is somewhat the act of the ostrich to be willing to do, by proxy, what one has not the courage to do oneself in the slaughterhouse. … The slaughterhouse is an unpopular subject for discussion, and the more fond the meat-eater is of his steak and two vegetables, the less he seems to like discussing the market and the slaughterhouse. …

“It was early in the activities of Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare that we started what we called our “CALF CAMPAIGN”. At the time we published a leaflet known as our “Veal Pie” leaflet. Our motive was to draw attention to the need for legislation on behalf of very young calves. … if a calf was born early on Sunday morning and the market was Monday, that calf assuredly found its way into the market if it were an un-needed bull calf. The reason being that farmers did not wish him to use, even for one week, milk which they wished to sell.

“Raystede consistently desires to be logical in all its undertakings, and I felt that while the work of Raystede at this time was touching on the current needs of domestic animals, yet it was desirable that we should investigate this problem with a view to ensuring all-time future benefit for all animals. I reviewed the sufferings of animals generally. I asked myself, “What is the greatest number of unprotected sufferers in the animal kingdom?” There are some who would say the most urgent need is to stop stag-hunting. While I agree, yet I realise that there are only a few stags suffering, however dismally, annually. Others would protest that fox-hunting is the most vicious and cruel experience that any animal suffers, yet withal, I was bound to realise that the number of foxes that suffer is not so very great. Performing animals? How we would like to blot that off our so called civilised entertainment, but even including zoos and all the misery of captivity, really only a few hundred animals suffer. I decided that it was our markets and slaughterhouses, handling daily, as they do, thousands of animals up and down the country, that needed the searchlight of our attention focussed upon them, and in particular, upon the young calves, which experience the greatest form of suffering in the greatest numbers.”

Sounds like an animal rights vegan to me. And remember – this was 1967. She was way ahead of her time.

Does Raystede labelling her a pescatarian undermine our campaign? Of course not. People get misled by medical professionals even today about what should be included in a healthy diet but thanks to the internet we now have access to more accurate information. In the days before the internet was prevalent people could be forgiven for believing what they were told about fish being necessary for good nutrition. And we can forgive them for thinking that eating wild-caught fish was a more natural and humane option than enslaving animals on farms. There is no doubt in my mind that if Miss Raymonde-Hawkins was alive today she would not be pescatarian. She was a vegan soul who, “like all decent-minded people, believed that no animal should be caused to suffer at all for any reason” and it is shameful that Raystede personnel disparage her for their own ends.

Sadly, as we have noted many times, the principles on which Raystede was founded are no longer being upheld. They run it like a business and follow the money first and the principles second, if at all. Perhaps we would not have been surprised by this if we had realised that the chairman of the board of trustees was a farmer.

Mr Jonathan Vine-Hall owns a 450 acre grass farm, producing bales of hay for the equine market, and some of his income is derived from “winter sheep keep”, ie he lets out his fields for grazing. In October 2016, fearing a drop in farm subsidies after the LEAVE vote, Mr Vine-Hall designed a plan to increase revenue from his Estate. Part of his plan was to buy his own herd of sheep to graze his fields. Starting with 250 ewes he intended to increase his herd to 500 ewes by the third year of his extension plan. He applied for planning permission for a barn to be “utilised seasonally to accommodate complicated cases of lambing (whilst the majority of lambing will be done ‘in field’ in the spring).” I wonder what he planned to do with the male offspring.

The man has a vested interest in sheep farming! Of course he’s not going to agree to make Raystede vegan, he’s making money out of meat-eaters! This is a genuine conflict of interest and Mr Vine-Hall should never have been permitted to become a Raystede trustee. Now he’s Chairman of the Board!

Please write to Raystede and tell them to stop allowing this conflict of interest which prevents them from running the charity on its founding principles. Miss Raymonde-Hawkins’ principles. Vegan principles. Tell them that reading Miss Raymonde-Hawkins’ books should be mandatory for all staff, volunteers and trustees so that they cannot be led astray again.

Please write to the other trustees and ask them to call for Mr Vine-Hall’s resignation (addresses at the bottom of the latest petition update).

And, if you can only write one letter, write it to Mr Jonathan Vine-Hall himself, asking him to resign his trusteeship so that Raystede can stop being hypocritical and get back to doing its best for all animals.

Thank you so much for your continued support.

 

 

Management Structure

Raystede management structureBecause Raystede refuses to discuss this issue with us, we could be forgiven for suspecting something dodgy was going on. Like maybe some of the trustees have a vested interest in the meat industry, or maybe they’ve secretly accepted a sizable donation from an animal farmer with conditions attached. But after reading a couple of decades worth of their Annual Reports, I don’t believe there is. I think Raystede’s trustees are just ordinary, well-meaning people who, like most, haven’t been able to free themselves from a lifetime of indoctrination. They, like everyone else, are capable of shedding their blindspot, and that means it’s only a matter of time.

One paragraph which is regularly repeated on Raystede’s Annual Reports states:

“[Raystede] was formed with the charitable objects to prevent and relieve cruelty to animals and to protect them from unnecessary suffering and to promote and encourage a love of animals and their proper care and treatment through EXAMPLE and education.”

They go on to say that education is a key charitable objective for Raystede, and that they have plans for growth in this area to maximise educational opportunities for the estimated 20,000 visitors they receive annually. In addition they say they provide direct education to approximately 13,000 children and adults both through teaching school children on site and daily tours.

Unfortunately, the inconsistent EXAMPLE they’re setting, of causing unnecessary suffering to some animals in order to sell them in the cafe, will undermine anything good they teach. Just think how many more animals they could save if they inspired their visitors towards a cruelty-free lifestyle. According to the Vegan Society’s “Veganalyser“, if a fifteen year old meat eater goes vegan she will save at least 2438 animals by the time she’s eighty years old. So if just ten percent of Raystede’s 20,000 visitors were inspired to go vegan, that’s 2,528,000 animals spared the misery and brutality of being bred to be butchered.

They don’t even have to be aggressive about it. Just change the menu.

Another claim in the Annual Reports is about Raystede’s plans for the future:

“We must understand the environment in which we operate, and be proactive and innovative in how we adapt to change. We should use our expertise and knowledge to PUT OURSELVES AT THE LEADING EDGE OF ANIMAL WELFARE WORK, and we should ensure we are effective in marketing ourselves to MAINTAIN OUR REPUTATION, supporters and income.”

This is why what we’re doing is going to work. They don’t want their reputation tarnished and this campaign is shining a light on their hypocrisy.

The diagram above illustrates Raystede’s management structure. As you can see, Nigel Mason is really just the front man. It’s the trustees who make all the decisions. Five trustees have resigned since we started this campaign and never before have there been so many resignations in such a short time. So are they resigning in protest because they agree with us? Maybe.

The updated list of trustees is at the bottom of this page.  Please write to them repeatedly and tell them, politely, that as long as they kill animals for money, they’ll never be on the leading edge of animal welfare work. Every trustee has on vote on each issue but if there’s a tie, the chairman has a second or casting vote, so if you’ve only got time to write to one letter, send it to the chairman of the board, Mr P J Vine-Hall.

Thank you so much for your continued support on this campaign.

We’re getting there! 😀

Influence is all

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Waiting for the bus a couple of days ago, I was passed by a lorry.  In the back, looking at me through blue-painted metal slats, were sheep.  Their nervous eyes pierced my soul.  They didn’t know where they were going but I did.

“How can you just stand there?” I asked myself.

“What can I do?” I replied.

“Get in front of the lorry!  Don’t let it pass!”

“And then what?  The driver’ll just get out and move me. Or he’ll call the police.  Then what would I have accomplished?”

Some people have thrown themselves in front of live transport lorries; some have died.  Even then nothing changes.

The truth is we can only hope to effect change by being a good influence on others; by showing them there is a better way; that there is no need for suffering; by inspiring veganism.

Raystede could be really influential.  They are a respected organisation, thanks to their founder, and they could do so much more good if they had a mind to.  They could stop paying for animals to be slaughtered, stop influencing others to have animals slaughtered and instead influence them to stop.

Why won’t they?  Why are they so determined to ignore us?  Why do they keep paying for suffering and death?  Do they really think it’s okay to have animals killed in the name of animal welfare?  No. Of course not.  They know we’re right, that’s why they don’t engage.

By the way, it might interest you to know that Nigel Mason, Raystede’s CEO, has tried to make us remove Raystede’s logo from the About page of this website on grounds of copyright infringement.  He was unsuccessful because our use of it (for criticism) is permitted.  But it just goes to show that if he’s taking the trouble to make such a petty complaint, we must be getting under his skin.

Please keep writing to Nigel Mason (e: nmason@raystede.org, info@raystede.org)

Tell him to make the cafe vegan.  He might not be answering, but he can’t help hearing us if we don’t shut up.

For ALL the animals’ sake, we have to stop those lorries!

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animals, animal rights, vegan, vegetarian, cruelty, cruelty to animals, live transport

Deceptive Influence

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I was again reminded of Raystede’s complicity in misleading their supporters when I read an article at thegrocer.co.uk entitled “How should UK meat producers respond to the rise in plant-based eating?”

The writer explained that the meat industry is facing unprecedented disruption from plant-based alternatives. At the same time, she wrote, the ethics, sustainability and health credentials of the meat industry are under growing attack. Campaigners and a slew of high-profile documentaries are encouraging consumers to ask probing questions about meat and cut down consumption.

The Grocer commissioned research to gauge industry sentiment on the rise of plant-based alternatives. Industry stakeholders participated in in-depth interviews, covering everything from communication to collaboration. What struck me in particular were quotes from a couple of respondents:

Jane King of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board said that the industry needs to focus on campaign marketing and advocacy and be more collaborative.

“The industry needs to be less fragmented and join forces around common goals,”

A meat producer agrees, saying that producers need to

“get together with a plan and one message. This should include the anti-meat representatives, so they can be educated.”

And another says

“It’s an opportunity because people will think about what they are eating, based on animal welfare.”

Meat producers know that as long as people believe animal products can be produced humanely they will continue to pay for them.  So if they can convince consumers that their ‘products’ are high welfare, they can stay in business. They will only achieve this, however, if good people who know better stay silent.

Now consider that an RSPCA survey a couple of years ago found that 75% of people believe that farm animal welfare is important and almost 50% of people believe that the animal products they consume are from high welfare farms. In fact the RSPCA say that only 4% of the food produced in the UK comes from farms meeting the RSPCA higher welfare standards. Once that has sunk in, remember how many times RSPCA approved farms have been exposed for hideous cruelty and neglect by organisations such as Animal Aid, Viva!Hillside Animal Sanctuary and others.

High Welfare labels are nothing but a marketing ploy and whoever uses them is helping the animal exploitation industries. Raystede – it’s cowardly to hide behind these deceptive labels. When people want assurances that they are not being cruel to animals with their shopping habits, tell them the truth. Tell them the only way to prevent animals being mistreated is to stop paying for them to be “produced”. Full stop.

Stop perpetuating the meat industry’s lies Raystede. Tell people the truth. Help them be kind. Lead the way. Be a good influence. Go vegan!

Please sign and share the petition and keep writing to Raystede, week in, week out, until it’s done.

Thank you 🙂

“Local High Welfare Farming Systems”

“Local High Welfare Farming Systems” is where Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare claims to source the meat and dairy for their cafe.  I live near what might be termed a ‘high welfare’ dairy farm which is local to Raystede, (ie the cows can be seen grazing in large fields rather than confined in huge warehouses).  And a different field, one which is empty most of the year, is the temporary home of some absolutely adorable individuals.

male babies 1

They hurry eagerly to meet us at the fence and are fascinated by the camera. They sniff it and nuzzle it with their noses and then quickly retreat a couple of steps when it moves.  They are curious, inquisitive and so sweet and gentle.

male babies 2

Every year a new crowd of babies arrives in this grassy field.  They are never there for long.  A few weeks maybe.  And then they’re gone.  We never see where they’ve gone but we know.  These are surplus to requirements for the dairy farmer.  These are the by-products of the milk, cheese and ice cream Raystede serves in their cafe.  These babies will die very soon.

male babies 3

Look them in the eye Raystede, and tell them it’s okay to take them from their mothers and send them to their deaths, just so you can sell their milk, because they were lucky enough to be born on a “high welfare farm”.

Please sign the petition to make Raystede vegan, and keep writing to them and phoning them to ask why these babies deserve to die.

Thank you.

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animals, cows, farming, dairy farming, animal rights, vegan, animal sanctuary

Raystede – a leading centre for animal welfare? Really?

pork was pig

Raystede’s excuse for serving animal products in their cafe is detailed on their cafe page. They write:

“As a leading Centre for Animal Welfare we are committed to delivering the highest standards of animal welfare to the animals in our care. Profits from our café form a significant contribution towards the funding of these services. As such our policy is to be inclusive and cater for all sections of society, providing extensive vegetarian and vegan options whilst sourcing any meat and dairy from local, high welfare farming systems.”

 The implication here is that they couldn’t save the animals they do if they didn’t serve meat, fish and dairy in the cafe.  Could this be true?  Of course not.

And here’s proof, just one county over, in Ashford, Kent:

And this is what they write on The Retreat‘s cafe page, at the top of their menu:

The-REtreat-Animal-Centre top of menu copy

“The Retreat would never consider saving one animal while serving another on a plate.”

So, Raystede, you are not a leading centre for animal welfare, but if you truly want to be, you know what to do.

Please sign and share the petition, and write to Raystede and/or directly to its trustees and ask them, for all the animals’ sake, to make their cafe vegan.

Thank you 🙂

And do support The Retreat, such a wonderful sanctuary that’s doing everything right for all the animals.

animals at The Retreat

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animals, animal rights, vegan, animal sanctuary, animal rescue, animal welfare