Protest over meat being on menu at animal sanctuary

Targeted ... the entrance to Raystede on The Broyle at Ringmer
Targeted ... the entrance to Raystede on The Broyle at Ringmer

An ongoing campaign against meat being on the cafe menu at an animal sanctuary saw a demonstration outside the venue on Bank Holiday Monday.

Two protesters gathered at the entrance to the Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare in Ringmer for two hours on one of its busiest days of the year.

They held a banner which proclaimed: ‘Raystede – please stop killing animals for your cafe.’

The campaign started as an online petition and then developed into a letter writing protest. Every time someone signs the petition the following message is automatically sent by email to Raystede:

‘Make Raystede’s cafe vegan! There is no such thing as humane animal products. Farm animals suffer unthinkably for the pleasure of humans who like the taste. Animal products are not healthy and are therefore not necessary. Consequently the suffering caused to farm animals is unnecessary suffering, ie that which Raystede was set up to relieve and prevent. Serving meat, dairy, eggs and fish whilst perpetuating the deception that it can ever be humane is hugely detrimental to the cause of animal welfare. Be consistent. Inspire people to be compassionate in all areas of their lives. Go vegan Raystede. Thank you.”

Campaigner Ed Burbank said this week that nearly 2,300 messages have been sent so far. He said: “That doesn’t include the countless independent messages that supporters have sent – by post, by email, directly to the trustees, week in and week out for many months. No replies have been received as far as I’m aware.”

He said Raystede was betraying the legacy of its founder the late Mabel Raymonde-Hawkins, who wrote in her book ‘Sensible Pets and Silly People’: “It is my view, and that of every decent minded person, that no animal should be made to suffer at all for any reason.”

Mr Burbank said: “She loved and cared for all species, including so-called farm animals, and long-term Raystede volunteers speak of how it was strongly frowned upon (in the days before it had a cafe) if anyone brought, for example, a ham sandwich or a leather bag with them to work at Raystede when she was there.”

Nigel Mason, Raystede’s Chief Executive, said the centre had been targeted for two years by campaigners, but just got on with its job – caring for thousands of animals.

“We are committed to delivering the highest standards of animal welfare,” he said. “There are vegetarian and vegan options in our cafe and a limited range of meat products sourced from local high welfare farms.

“We are an animal welfare charity, not an animal rights charity.”