Thursday, 25 February 2010

‘No Return to Cruelty’

Press release:

Steven Campkin, Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Ashford,
pledged “no return to cruelty” as he backed an IFAW in Action campaign to
protect the ban on the cruel sport of hunting with dogs.

Five years after the Hunting Act came into force in England and Wales, IFAW in
Action, a part of the global International Fund for Animal Welfare movement, has
published a new report ‘No Return to Cruelty’, and released a three-minute
compilation of video footage showing examples of hunting cruelty before the ban.

The new report and footage were sent to MPs and prospective parliamentary
candidates, urging them to remember the horrific cruelty inflicted on foxes,
deer, hares and mink before the introduction of the Hunting Act and to work to
protect the ban.

Steven said: “Hunting for so called 'sport' is barbaric and repulsive and has no
place in a civilised society. I fully support the hunting ban but would like to
see it better enforced, and would go further and ban any activity that exploits
animals. The Hunting Act was introduced because the majority of the British
public found it abhorrent that animals could be chased and ripped apart for fun.”

Conservative Party leader David Cameron has pledged to allow MPs a free vote on
whether to repeal the Act if he becomes Prime Minister. This is despite the fact
that a return to hunting would be completely out of step with the views of the
majority of the British public, including his own party.

Polling by Ipsos MORI* in September 2009 found strong cross-party support for
maintaining the ban, including almost twice as many intending Conservative
supporters backing the Act as those that want it repealed (62% vs 33%). Overall,
75% of the British public do not want fox hunting to be made legal again.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW in Action, said: “As a nation of animal
lovers, the majority of the British public have long opposed animal cruelty and
do not want the archaic practice of hunting with dogs to return to our
countryside. We urge everyone to visit our website and remember why this vital
ban was introduced.”

To read the No Return to Cruelty report and view the footage visit w where you
can also email your other local parliamentary candidates and ask where they
stand on the issue.

Ends apprx. 740 words

Sunday, 21 February 2010

What's the Point?

With the Green Party conference in full swing it's difficult not to feel inspired and aspirational. A fantastic speech from Dr. Caroline Lucas kicked off proceedings, my good friend Stuart Jeffery, standing in Maidstone, was involved with our brand new Green Party health policy, and we've got loads of coverage in national media from radio 4 to the local papers.

Meanwhile I've been sat at home, unable to attend the conference due to work pressures, but answering the first slew of letters from constituents and NGOs. And it was those that reminded me why I got involved with the Green Party in the first place. I was protesting outside the Novartis labs thinking "this is pointless! What we need is representation at the political level."

I was unaware of Caroline Lucas' work in the European Parliament, and Animals Count and the Animal Protection Party didn't exist back then, but I've always believed if you think something needs doing then you're the person for the job so, that evening, I checked out all the political parties for their animal rights policies, to find that only the Green Party actually had one!! (I found out later that the Lib Dems had dropped theirs shortly after the Hunting ban came in, but I don't know how true this is.) So I joined, there and then. Best thing I ever did!

Since then my eyes have been opened to so many other issues that I almost forgot my original reason for joining, but these issues are symptoms of the same problem, and their is only one problem: fear!! And the powers that be feed off and manipulate this fear. Energy deficit, swine flu, terrorism, climate change, etc. Where's the hope, the optimism, the unquenchable fire in the human soul?

It's out there. All these e-mails I'm getting: "will you support us?" "what do you think about this?", "what will you do about that?!", they are from people who live in Ashford who care about Ashford, animals, the environment, child poverty, but not in a fearful way, in a way that gets them up and out and doing stuff, holding the powers that be to account, not just sitting there and taking it. People like me!!

The exploitation of animals must stop, we are animals. The rape of Nature must stop: we are a part of nature. The enslavement of the poor, wherever in the world they are, must stop now! For we only behave like this because we are in turn slaves ourselves: slaves to the capitalist system, to advertisers, to the bankers. To our own fears. And to a parliament full of politicians trying to use the system to line their own pockets, because they are also slaves to their own fears. Set them free, bless 'em, vote Green Party. Or, even better, join us! I've got vacancies...

Maybe I'm caught up in the whole "glass is half full" thing that accompanies seeing your team doing well, but that's when we get up and get stuff done. Positive vibes, man!! They work!