An animal welfare charity has refused to remove animal products from its cafe menu – despite increasing pressure from vegan activists.
The Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare in East Sussex, is at the center of a campaign called Make Raystede Vegan, which has called on its followers to write to local papers ‘voicing your support for this protest and your shock at Raystede’s rude disregard for people’s legitimate concerns’.
Campaigners say it is hypocritical for The Raystede Centre – which is home to cats and dogs alongside animals including ex-battery hens among others – to serve dead animals, eggs, and dairy.
Raystede’s Founder, Mabel Raymonde-Hawkins, wrote ‘it is my view, and that of every decent-minded person, that no animal should be made to suffer at all for any reason’, in her book titled Sensible Pets and Silly People.
The campaign says serving animal foods is a betrayal of these values – though the center says Raymonde-Hawkins ate animals – despite denouncing animal suffering.
Vegan campaigner Edward Burbank told the Daily Mail: “The meat-eating trustees at Raystede, for their own convenience, have chosen to categorise 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?”
Won’t stop serving animals
“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, Ms. M Raymonde-Hawkins, and we work tirelessly to fulfil and develop her vision,” said a statement released by the center.
“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 are an animal welfare charity, not an animal rights charity,” added Nigel Mason, Raystede’s Chief Executive, adding that the cafe offers vegan options.