The Fellowship of Life
Church backs down on hunt blood money
From the Winter 99-2000 edition of Outrage with thanks to Animal Aid:
The Church Times headlined their story 'Demonstrators draw blood' - and so we did.
When Animal Aid discovered that St. Edmundsbury Cathedral - one of
the oldest in the country - was planning to profit from the slaughter of
thousands of birds, deer and foxes, we launched a very public protest
that forced the church to do an about turn and reject the money.
The money-raising scheme was got up by local hunt enthusiasts who
thought they could improve their public image by arranging for an
auction of more than 50 days of hunting, shooting and fishing - proceeds
to go to St Edmundsbury's millennium tower appeal and to local hospices.
One of the lots on auction was directed specifically at children.
Another had been donated by that notorious wildlife slaughterer, the
Duke of Edinburgh.
For our demonstration outside the cathedral gates, we took along our
very own 'Jesus', who bore the message Thou Shalt Not Kill, and carried
a six foot cross hung with 'dead animals'.
The regional media headlined the campaign and there was coverage in
several national newspapers and on television and radio. We were
planning a fast within the Cathedral itself when the Provost announced
his climbdown. The fast was to be led by Joan Court, an 80 year old
retired social worker who for 30 years specialised in caring for abused
children and who, earlier in her career, worked as a nurse-midwife in
India and in other developing countries on behalf of Quakers and the
World Health Organisation. Joan is founder of the Cambridge-based
organisation Animals, People and the Environment (APE). But though the
church pulled out, the auction was still due to go ahead, as we went to
press - on behalf of other beneficiaries.
That's why we will continue our campaign against all bloodsports, not
least against the Church of England for continuing to allow hunting on
Thanks to everyone from the Cambridge and Ipswich groups who gave us
such staunch support.
In an open letter to the Cathedral's provost, the Very Reverend James
Atwell, Animal Aid director, Andrew Tyler, had declared:
"In your statements to the media you suggested that because shooting
birds and hounding deer are legal, then your church can, in good
conscience, take the money obtained from the auctioning of these
We believe this is morally corrupt reasoning. Our view is that the
church should not be sinking to the lowest common denominator but giving
a moral lead. It wasn't so long ago that bear baiting, cock fighting and
sending children up chimneys were perfectly legal.
Do you really want to build your Cathedral tower with money procured
from the 'sporting' activities detailed above? If so, yours will be a
bloody tower, an artifact to bring shame on the church and not least on
those who preferred to take the money rather than act with integrity. I
urge you to think again and refuse the offer of all lots that involve
the killing of animals."
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