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


Choose a Cruelty Free Christmas

CIWF report on 'Choose a Cruelty Free Christmas' Campaign (1982)

Most of our local groups report increased interest and sympathy in the 1982 'Choose a Cruelty Free Christmas' campaign. The public seems much more ready to consider the issues than in the previous year. A sure indication of this was that a short letter published in the Daily Mirror, written by Georgina Roberts of Llanfrothern, provoked more than 400 requests for our 'Cruelty Free Christmas' recipe. In all over 250,000 leaflets were distributed from our office, and articles and radio broadcasts were published and broadcast throughout the country. Thanks to all those who supported the campaign.

The Norwich March

The highlight was the CIWF 'March against Matthews' at Norwich on November 27th. Police estimates put the crowd at 1,000. The march took us through the centre of Norwich, where thousands of leaflets were handed out to Saturday afternoon shoppers. Our Norwich group, who did a tremendous amount of work organising, also ensured that we received plenty of local publicity. Anglian television and radio coverage was extensive, but we did not gain as much National coverage as we would have liked. The main reason for this was that Bernard Matthews had threatened libel action against any newspaper making allegations of ill-treatment of turkeys.

After the march a group of demonstrators went out to Matthews headquarters at Great Witchingham, accompanied by Anglia Television film crews. There, police took the unprecedented step of taking the names of the T.V. people and warning them "in no uncertain terms" that if there was any trouble during filming, then they would be held responsible for having 'An inflamatory effect on the protestors.'

Offensive chants

There was one sour note to the march. We did hope to have silence amongst the main marchers so that Michael Dixon could inform the public of the facts behind turkey production, via the megaphone. It soon became clear, however, that many protestors wanted to chant. This was, to some extent understandable, but there was no excuse for the offensive chants of "Burn Matthews", "Scum", and worse, that were bellowed around the streets of Norwich. Who do the people who chant these slogans think they are impressing?

Marches take a lot of organising, and the aim is to attract the public to our worthy cause. All we achieve by hurling insults is to convince people that we are the local football hooligans taking a week off from our usual pastime.

From the Feb/March edition of Ag - journal of Compassion in World Farming. Reproduced with Thanks.

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