The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973



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 its land.

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 activities.

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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