Oct 8th, 2014
Riverford Hunting Campaign
By Robin Priestley
UPDATE: THIS PETITION IS NOW CLOSED
For 48 hours, 38 Degrees member Ama ran a campaign on Campaigns by You calling on Riverford Organics and the Watson Family to stop all hunting on Riverford land. After an amazing number of people signed her petition the campaign reached local and national news.
She has now decided to end it, here’s a message from Ama:
“In 48 hours 4,500 people, many of them Riverford customers, or potential Riverford customers, have made their point that Riverford need to STOP HUNTING NOW, on ALL their farms. The voice of Riverfords’ customers have been heard, let us see if the Watson family rise to the challenge, adopt more customer focused polices, respond to their public, become far more ethical, and refuse to take produce from any farm, including their own, where blood sports are practiced.
After all, if their competitors can do this, why can’t they? The British public are against blood sports, and those who buy organic even more so, we won’t except anything less than cruelty free organic produce.”
Here is the text of the petition:
To: Guy Watson of Riverford Organics & The Watson Family
Immediately stop any form of hunting on Riverford owned land and stop sponsoring the South Devon Hunt.
Why is this important?
Riverford Organic Farms Ltd prides itself publicly on its ethics and its high animal welfare standards – a major reason why consumers, across the UK, support it. But away from the public’s eyes, Riverford Farm has, in fact, been actively allowing fox hunting on its lands, and worse still, potentially the cruel atrocity that is cub-hunting.
In the early hours of Wednesday the 1st October a fox hunt was spotted on Riverford Farm land, consisting of a large number of hounds of differing colours, which stayed on Riverford land for many hours, and are likely to be the South Devon Hunt. The fact they were hunting a full month before the official start of the fox hunting season suggests they were out ‘cubbing.’
This particularly cruel and sadistic practice involves hunters going after newborn fox cubs, literally digging them out of their holes with spades, with the desperate vixen completely unable to protect her young. The cubs are then ripped apart and mutilated by a pack of hounds; the hunters using this horrible ‘opportunity’ with vulnerable animals to teach their younger hounds how to kill. Those dogs who don’t immediately show enthusiasm for mutilating their fellow beings are shot as “useless” to the hunt.
Riverford Farm has, additionally, been actively sponsoring the cruel South Devon Hunt.
Riverford Organics customers pay a premium for their vegetables and consumables because they are humane, conscious people who are trying in their own, personal way to live more ethically and sustainably. This betrayal by Riverford Farm abuses both animal and customer.
In a democratic society the very notion of selectively policing the laws of the land is dangerous and unacceptable. Riverford is fully aware that it is engaging with an unethical and potentially illegal activity, (and that it has been doing so for many years, in secret.)
This petition asks that customers demand answers, transparency – and change – from Riverford Farm, and refrain from supporting Riverford Organics further, while it remains connected to cruel and potentially illegal blood ‘sports.’ We do not wish to be complicit. And it is high time the whole of the Watson family lived up to its own ethical spin.
For more information on the terrible realities of cub hunting, see: What is Cub Hunting? – League Against Cruel Sports see:
Riverford Organics responded to the campaign in this facebook post.
Is there an issue close to your heart? What would you like to see change in the UK? You can start your campaign here.