I’d like to preface this article by saying that I recognize that there are a lot of different belief systems out there, and I respect that. However, at some point you have to say “come on guys, this is a bit much”.
A group of vegans in Bristol, UK, have held a candle-lit vigil outside a farm to mourn nine turkeys that have been killed there ahead of Christmas. Offering vegan mince pies to passers-by, the group stood in silence at the gate of St Werburgh’s City Farm next to a number of signs, the most notable of which read ‘They wanted to live’.
The death of the birds – somewhat comically dubbed ‘the Saint Werburgh’s nine’ – came to people’s attention last week after St. Werburgh’s City Farm charity said it would be raffling off two turkeys and auctioning the rest for Christmas.
This angered vegans online (hey, what else is new), but this time it also translated into street action – or field action, to be more specific.
St Werburhg’s is a charity farm that aims to educate the public about animal welfare and how food gets from field or farm to plate. They had apparently cancelled the raffle after public outcry, but the birds were still killed yesterday at a slaughterhouse ahead of being eaten for Christmas.
The farm has said it adheres to the highest welfare standards, but it seems like the vegans are having none of it.
Vegan activist Sarah Nicol, who organised the vigil, said: “There’s a lot of anger that the turkeys are dead, but we just want people to have a peaceful outlet for their grief.”
It seems like the protest was indeed peaceful, and there were no reports of any violence or damage to property.
Nicol continued to say the group’s aim was to stop the animals getting killed at any farms in the city, adding: “We’re hopeful that Bristol’s city farms can move towards being sanctuaries.
“Their goals aren’t based in slaughtering their animals, they’re based in helping and educating the public. So it’s a logical step to move towards becoming a sanctuary.
“The turkeys caught people’s attention because they could see them, felt that they knew them. They were nine individuals, rather than countless, nameless animals in a slaughterhouse.”
According to a post on Bristol Vegan Action’s Facebook page, the group raised around £700 – about $1000 – for the cause.
“Bristol Vegans isn’t a hotbed of activism usually, but it can and should be,” the message said. “We raised £700 in one day, just us. We have over 1200 signatures on our petition, in only 5 days. People far and wide called/emailed to show support – even from America.”
St. Werburgh’s City farm, which sees 60,000 visitors and works with 3,500 disadvantaged people, has said that it would not be changing to a sanctuary.
In a statement, the farm said: “Having listened to the views of a small section of our community, we decided not to hold our annual public turkey auction.
“However, the aims and objectives of the Farm remain unchanged and our turkeys have been sold for Christmas. We feel that we have an important role to play in educating people about where their food comes from so they can make an informed decision about their food choices.”
What do you think of the protest? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.