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My Letter to ‘The Mall’

by Darren

My own personal letter to the Corporate Social Responsibility Adviser to ‘The Mall’ (james@redwoodconsulting.co.uk).  I’ve sent it as part of #5Acts4Wildlife which we’re running this week, and thought it would be helpful to others to see the points I’ve expressed.

Find out more about Day 4 of #5Acts4Wildlife and why we should ban the use of animals in shops.

The letter:

Dear James

I understand that you are the Corporate Social Responsibility Adviser to ‘The Mall’.  I’d like to seek your support for a campaign which we intend to take across the country.  Indeed The Mall have the opportunity to be the very first organisation to ban animal displays from their shopping centres, a practice which belongs in the past, a practice which puts the welfare of those animals at risk and above all, a practice which is bad for business.

You may or may not know that prior to Christmas I launched several campaigns to persuade shops and shopping centres to cancel individual events.  Most notable was Hamleys plan to have penguins in store.  The very first campaign was somewhat an accident (I originally posted just five messages to the social network ‘twitter’).  The campaign was supported by 180,000 individuals who posted 2.9m tweets over the course of four days.  Hamleys after some time decided that they would listen to the views of customers and cancel the display.

Just a week later Riverside shopping centre in Hertfordshire also planned a display.  I only discovered this on Thursday night, and thought after attracting so much support the week before it would be difficult to raise people to campaign against this again, yet by Friday lunchtime 100,000 twitter messages convinced the shopping centre that this too was bad for business.  Others were inspired to go on and campaign against events involving reindeer at West Quay in Southampton who too cancelled the event and replaced it with people dressed up as reindeer.

Please don’t take this the wrong way.  The people involved in this aren’t what people might refer to as ‘animal rights’ protesters.  We aren’t going to ask people to demonstrate when shops have animal displays because the whole point is that we care for the welfare of the animals involved and don’t want to make a bad situation worse by encouraging people to attend.  We aren’t encouraging people to engage in acts of vandalism (or worse) – I can’t stress enough that’s not what we do.

What we do is tell people this is wrong, and that means encouraging people to shop at shopping centres which don’t use live animals, and avoid those who do.  As you can see from the tales above, there are quite a large number of people who agree.

Shopping centres and shops are not the place for animal displays.  Inside locations are hot and humid, and even outdoor events are designed to attract crowds which causes stress.  In the case of penguins, a disease called Aspergillosis causes 3% mortality in the wild, yet rates of between 50% and 88% in captivity due to handling and stress.  The Times ran an article explaining that Life in the UK proves fatal to reindeer which you can see here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/earth-environment/article6917367.ece

If your clients would agree to ban the use of live animals across all of its shopping centres, we will use our considerable publicity skills within the social media arena to hail them as progressive and supportive of animal welfare.  We plan to take this campaign to all shopping centres across the UK and to make the practice as unacceptable as wearing fur.  Everything has to start somewhere – it would be great for us and great for your clients if they were to be first.

Thanks for listening, and I hope we can work together on what I’m sure will be helpful to us both.

With best wishes
Darren Hector

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