20th March 2013
Malvern Veggies Cry Foul Over Council Gagging Order
Date: Wednesday, March 20
Place: Outside Malvern Tourist Information Centre, 21 Church Street Malvern Worcestershire WR14
NATIONAL CHARITY VIVA! WILL BE JOINED BY MEMBERS OF LOCAL GROUP WORCESTERSHIRE VEGANS AND VEGGIES outside Malverns Tourist Information Centre to peacefully protest against what they see as an attack on their freedom of speech.
The protestors will be wearing gags and carrying placards reading Dont Gag Compassion! to draw attention to what they believe is a dangerous precedent that could be set by Malvern Hills District Council. One they believe could have serious implications for the freedom of speech of people in the county.
The protest is in light of the removal of a display paid for by the local group in the window of the Tourist Information Centre in Malvern after a SINGLE COMPLAINT from a member of the public. The groups says that the display was not offensive and showed no graphic images, but simply offered information and advice on how people could enjoy a cruelty-free Christmas by choosing a veggie meal instead.
Maxine Burgess from Worcestershire Vegans and Veggies says: We suspect that the council has discriminated against us because someone didnt like us promoting animal welfare. We are afraid that the council is now trying to put in place a formal policy that would allow this type of discrimination to continue.
Justin Kerswell, campaigns manager at Viva!, says: The situation is quickly becoming farcical. The Viva! poster in question shows two turkeys in the wild and offers free veggie recipes. Nothing more. It is as innocuous as it sounds and has been distributed without incident across Britain. It is deeply worrying that a single person with a problem with vegetarians can cause a chain reaction in the council that could have a much wider impact than intended. What the council is suggesting could negatively affect not just charities such as Viva!, but any other local group campaigning for change. Were asking them to take a common sense decision and continue to allow debate to thrive in Malvern.
For more information about Viva! visit www.viva.org.uk or call 0117 944 1000.
For more information about this media release, call Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
Viva! has written to Gary Williams, Head of Planning, Economy and Housing, Malvern Hills District Council to say that the charity completely understands the need to regulate the use of council space and to prevent images that could be construed as offensive. However, Viva! has told Mr Williams that it is ludicrous to believe that the poster in question could cause offense. A compromise suggested by both Viva! and Worcestershire Vegans and Veggies is for the council to put a disclaimer in the window of the Tourist Information offices to say that the views displayed are not necessarily those of the council.