Bath & West Show responds to PETA’s call to go vegan

The Royal Bath & West Show. <i>(Image: Bath & West)</i>
The Royal Bath & West Show. (Image: Bath & West)

THE Royal Bath and West Show has responded to PETA’s call for the event to go Vegan.

Carol Paris, the show’s CEO, wrote a letter in response to PETA last week after the animal rights organisation called on the Bath and West to go “fully vegan” by removing “animal parades and exhibits” from the event.

The Royal Bath and West Show, held annually in Shepton Mallet, is a four-day “celebration of rural life” and one of the largest shows of its kind in England. However, the use of “non-consenting” animals including sheep, cows, and pigs, was criticised by PETA earlier this month.

A letter written by PETA’s vice president of vegan corporate projects, Dawn Carr, addressed to The Bath and West’s CEO stated that it should be “modernising the show by making it vegan and free of animal exhibits”.

Ms Carr added: “The show’s Grand Livestock Parade – more accurately described as a Sad Captive Parade – is a relic from a cruel past, subjecting hundreds of non-consenting cows, sheep, and other animals to frightening crowds and stressful handling. Animals are not “stock”, a word that describes objects you put on a shelf, or property to be flaunted for prize money. They are feeling, sensitive individuals who value their lives just as we value ours.”

PETA’s representative recommended that the show expand its Horticulture Village to showcase  “Somerset’s hard-working plant growers” and replace “the tawdry parade of farmed animals”.

The letter also stated that The Bath and West Show encouraged children to take part in animal “exploitation” by teaching them to milk cows.

Bath and West CEO Carol Paris responded on Tuesday, writing: “Our key objectives are to educate in agriculture and agricultural practices. With our current climate emergency, we are conscious that education in agriculture is as relevant today as it was when we were formed in 1777.”

She added: “Any animals that are on site are very well looked after. We have a minimum of three vets on site 24 hours a day, who regularly check the health and wellbeing of the animals.”

Ms Paris stated that although the show is “not vegan” it does offer “plenty of vegan and vegetarian food available to allow for personal choice and any food allergies or intolerances.”

The CEO also revealed that the show will expand its Horticultural Village this year and has added a “‘Green Room’ to deliver inspiring and educational horticultural talks”.

The letters can be read in full below.

Friday, May 10

Dear Ms Paris:

 

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to urge you to create a kinder and more sustainable future for the Royal Bath & West Show: a fully vegan one free from animal parades and exhibits.

 

The show’s Grand Livestock Parade – more accurately described as a Sad Captive Parade – is a relic from a cruel past, subjecting hundreds of non-consenting cows, sheep, and other animals to frightening crowds and stressful handling. Animals are not “stock”, a word that describes objects you put on a shelf, or property to be flaunted for prize money. They are feeling, sensitive individuals who value their lives just as we value ours.

 

By ditching the animal exhibits and parades as well as the sale of animal-derived foods, the Royal Bath & West Show could deliver a “grand celebration of rural life” that doesn’t cost anyone theirs. PETA recommends celebrating Somerset’s hard-working plant growers by expanding the Horticulture Village. And you could replace the tawdry parade of farmed animals with something fun and uplifting for children – like a wholesome pumpkin parade!

 

Children have a natural empathy for animals, but in years past the show has encouraged them to take part in their exploitation. Teaching children to milk cows indoctrinates them into the cruel and frankly weird practice of taking milk from mother cows, produced for their calves, against their will. Food stalls at the event have encouraged them to munch on animals’ body parts in burgers and sandwiches and to lick cows’ mammary secretions in ice cream. There’s a better way: let’s help children make kind choices by promoting delicious, locally grown, plant-based foods and drinks – like apples and oat milk – instead.

 

We hope you’ll agree that modernising the show by making it vegan and free of animal exhibits would be a great way to offer a fun family day out and to support local, ethical, and sustainable plant-based agriculture.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Dawn Carr

Vice President of Vegan Corporate Projects PETA

 

In response: 

Tuesday, May 21

Dear Mrs Carr,

 

Thank you for your recent letter regarding our Royal Bath and West of England Society. The Society is a registered charity supporting agriculture, rural crafts and art. Our key objectives are to educate in agriculture and agricultural practices. With our current climate emergency, we are conscious that education in agriculture is as relevant today as it was when we were formed in 1777.

 

Any animals that are on site are very well looked after. We have a minimum of three vets on site 24 hours a day, who regularly check the health and wellbeing of the animals. The society provides grants to assist veterinary students and has an awards scheme to promote the highest standards in farm vets.

 

Although the show is not vegan, we do ensure that there is plenty of vegan and vegetarian food available to allow for personal choice and any food allergies or intolerances. We have, as you have suggested, expanded the Horticultural Village this year and added a ‘Green Room’ to deliver inspiring and educational horticultural talks.

 

Although I am conscious that this does not satisfy all your requirements, I hope it reassures that we are caring, considerate and thorough with regards to animal husbandry.

 

Thank you for taking the time to highlight your concerns.

 

Kind regards,

Carol