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FOOT AND MOUTH - Muck raking
Posted 1 February 2002
A letter published in Private Eye (No 1047, 8-21 February 2002) expressed the frustration felt by many animal rights campaigners over the media coverage of foot and mouth.
Dear Private Eye
Re: Silence of animal rights campaigners over FMD: Down on the Farm - Muckspreader - 25.1.02
It is not remotely a 'mystery' why there was 'silence of the animal rights brigade' during the FMD crisis. It is dead simple. None of the media wanted to hear what we had to say. God knows we tried to voice our concerns but we can't force the media to print our letters, read our press releases, report our campaigns and demos, allow us on radio phone-ins and TV programmes. This allows columnists like Muckspreader to pontificate over our lack of action on FMD - the proverbial Catch 22!
Mind you, I wonder what Muckspreader would have had us do to get publicity? Stand naked in a field with placards screaming abuse at MAFF officials? Sure this might have got us noticed but frankly I can't see how it would have stopped the 'cull' to 'save' the animals. In fact it would have given the animal rights hating pundits another chance to vilify us for 'deliberately' wanting to spread the FMD virus.
Anyway, what would we animal rights campaigners have been 'saving' these animals from? Certainly not death; these animals would normally have been part of the regular consignment of the 600,000 sheep, pigs and cattle, along with the 15 million poultry, sent to British slaughterhouses each week. While the media and public gnashed their teeth and wept as they watched in horror the FMD crisis unfold on TV, where did they think their lamb chop and beef sarnie was coming from? I'll tell you: from the untelevised, and hidden holocaust of 900 millions animals sent annually to be strung up by their back leg and have their throats cut by desensitised men on piece rate in the slaughterhouse.
This is the message we wanted to get across; eating animals it is a brutal, ugly and often disease ridden business, stop being party to it, instead go veggie, better still vegan. The message was too truthful and honest and no one wished to hear; we were not silent but silenced for our pains.