The Fellowship of Life
A joint letter has been sent to Bill Morris, Olympics Director of Ceremonies objecting on the grounds of genuine animal suffering; presenting a false picture of modern industrial farming and lack of imagination.
Read entire letter (PDF) here. Text:
June 21, 2012
21st June 2012
Dear Mr Morris and Committee Members,
We, the undersigned organisations, made up of leading UK animal protection groups, formally voice our opposition to the proposed use of live animals during the Olympic opening ceremony, on the following grounds:
Sheep, chickens, horses, geese and ducks are prey animals and
therefore have a well-developed instinct towards “flight” in
situations that they find distressing. Subjecting these animals to
more than 62,000 cheering people, bright lights, high sound levels and
the frenetic atmosphere of the event, while preventing them from
exercising their natural instinct to remove themselves or hide, will
be a highly stressful and probably terrifying experience for them. The
recognition of the risk that the ceremony is highly likely to cause
fear and distress renders the Olympic organisers liable to
Many members of the public have already registered their opposition to the plans by writing directly to organisers or by putting their names to one of at least two petitions that have attracted over 11,000 signatures after just one week. We expect the opposition to continue to grow considerably. The message is clear: a large body of opinion does not want the UK to be represented on this important global stage in this manner. The Olympic organisers must listen to the voice of the public.
We hope that you are also aware that the portrayal of free ranging
animals in lush green pastures is simply unrepresentative of the
contemporary UK farming industry. The majority of animals farmed in
Great Britain are subjected to intensive farming methods; crowded into
cages, barns and
We recognise that the decision to use animals is unlikely to have been taken with the deliberate intent of causing harm and suffering to those individuals involved, or to paint a false picture, as it does, of farming today in the U.K., but the problems have now been clearly set out and cannot be simply ignored and false impressions cannot be a part of the show we all look forward to seeing do our nation proud. You can turn the tide on the growing opposition by taking the simple, ethical and compassionate decision to cancel the use of animals in the opening. After all, the Olympics present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase British animatronics and theatrical expertise to a global audience. A stage show like War Horse has enthralled far greater audiences by displaying wonderful puppetry skills than had they unimaginatively used live horses. With the immense talent in this country, we respectfully ask you to reconsider and follow their compassionate example.
Please make the right decision: do not exploit animals for entertainment in our nation’s name.
We would be happy to meet with you to discuss any of the points
raised in this letter and look
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