Campaigners demanding that an animal sanctuary remove meat products from its café menu have been urged to bombard the local newspaper with protest letters.
The call came from the blogging website ‘Make Raystede Vegan’.
It calls on the Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare in Ringmer to ‘stop killing animals for its café’.
Followers of the blog were told to write to our sister paper the Sussex Express “Voicing your support for this protest and your shock at Raystede’s rude disregard for people’s legitimate concerns”.
The long-running campaign claims the centre is 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.”
But in a response this week, Raystede said Miss Raymonde-Hawkins regularly ate fish and a range of dairy-based meals.
Edward Burbank said in his protest letter: “The meat-eating trustees at Raystede, for their own convenience, have chosen to categorise that slaughter of farmed animals as necessary suffering, despite the fact that animal products are now known to be not only unnecessary but detrimental to human health.
“Certainly no one could call bacon and beef burgers healthy food. So how can those in charge at Raystede justify ordering the deaths of the cows and pigs out of whom they were made?”
Raystede said in a statement on Tuesday: “We are committed to delivering the highest standards of animal welfare to the animals in our care.
“Since opening our doors in 1952, re-homing, providing sanctuary for animals in need and educating people in the care of animals has remained at the heart of everything we do.
“We re-home more than 1,000 animals a year and provide sanctuary for many more. We also offer a wide variety of educational experiences, both onsite and via our outreach programmes, to more than 13,000 people a year.
“Our 43-acre site offers a wonderfully tranquil place for the animals in our care to have the support, welfare and sanctuary that we feel they deserve as well as allowing members of the public to visit a working animal shelter, in a beautiful setting. We welcome around 200,000 people to Raystede every year and offer a range of activities, educational opportunities, and experiences to the wide and varied range of visitors.
“As a charity, we rely entirely on donations. We ensure that every penny we raise is used to support the animals in our care. Our charitable activities are those set out by our founder, Miss M Raymonde-Hawkins, and we work tirelessly to fulfil and develop her vision.
“We are aware of a small but ongoing campaign directed at our staff and trustees by instigators who, despite never having had the privilege of meeting our founder, take the position that she was an active vegan. Our President, who knew Ms Raymonde-Hawkins for more than 20 years, fondly remembers meals out with her, where she would regularly eat trout, salmon and a range of dairy-based meals whilst she secured funding and legacies from a wide range of supporters.
“We are proud to continue Ms Raymonde-Hawkins’ pioneering work today. We welcome visitors to Raystede, to see for themselves the positive impact we have on the animals in our care and to experience the support and guidance we offer to the families and pet owners with whom we work.”