Tomorrow, 2017 will begin.
As with every New Year, there is a sense of expectation. That war will cease, the poverty will end, that our planet will be protected and that compassion will conquer all.
It may not turn out like that but that is no excuse for not trying – we must strive as never before.
And we must not forget our fellow travellers, the animals who share our spinning orb and whose survival is in our hands.
Born Free will continue to do all it can for wildlife in the wild but, in 2017, we shall also return to our roots and focus our efforts with even greater intensity on the millions of wild animals detained for our ‘pleasure’ and our ‘entertainment’.
My mother wrote the following words in 1987, thirty years ago. They remain as true today as they did then and they keep the fire of indignation and outrage burning as strong as ever. Wild animals locked up for life in zoos, circuses and menageries for little better reason than that it provides a momentary distraction cannot go unchallenged and, with the help of our supporters around the world, Born Free will always be clear, strong and principled in our opposition to the exploitation of individual wild animals ‘for fun’.
Here’s what Virginia wrote all those years ago:
“Sometimes the anger I feel towards those establishments, and the people who condone the perpetuation of the kind of captivity I am fighting against, chokes me. Sometimes when things get rough I feel frustrated and hopeless; the proverbial brick wall seems thicker than ever, and my voice, a very small one, shouting against the wind. But then, in my mind, I see the animals in the zoos. The bear in an indoor cage, four metres by three; the solitary monkey chained within its concrete pen; birds so confined that flight is impossible; the jungle cat crouching in the doorway of its wooden box inside its tiny concrete cage. I see the look in their eyes. It is a look I cannot forget, which I will not betray and which will follow me for the rest of my days” – Virginia McKenna writing in ‘Beyond The Bars’(page 39) ‘Past , Present – Future Indicative’, 1987, Thorsons Publishing Group.
Still so true.
So, may I wish you all a wonderful New Year and ask that, in the months ahead, you keep those fellow travellers in mind. I know you will.
Very best wishes