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Popular show celebrating rural life rejects PETA’s demand to go vegan

Organisers of The Royal Bath and West Show, held annually in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, have rejected calls from controversial animal rights group PETA to ‘go vegan’.

The popular four-day ‘celebration of rural life’ and one of the largest shows of its kind in England was targeted by the group for its use of “non-consenting” animals including sheep, cows, and pigs.

A letter written by PETA’s vice president, addressed to The Bath and West’s CEO Carol Paris stated that it should be “modernising the show by making it vegan and free of animal exhibits”.

PETA’s bizarre letter went on to describe the event and its festivities as being “a relic from a cruel past, subjecting hundreds of non-consenting cows, sheep, and other animals to frightening crowds and stressful handling”.

However, Ms Paris responded on behalf of organisers to offer a much needed reality check, writing: “Our key objectives are to educate in agriculture and agricultural practices. With our current climate emergency, we are conscious that education in agriculture is as relevant today as it was when we were formed in 1777.”

She added: “Any animals that are on site are very well looked after. We have a minimum of three vets on site 24 hours a day, who regularly check the health and wellbeing of the animals.”

Ms Paris stated that although the show is “not vegan” it does offer “plenty of vegan and vegetarian food available to allow for personal choice and any food allergies or intolerances.”

The CEO also revealed that the show will expand its Horticultural Village this year and has added a “‘Green Room’ to deliver inspiring and educational horticultural talks”.

A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said:

“ It is disappointing that PETA have targeted this popular community event, but it is right for organisers to reject their absurd demands. PETA have a record of coming out with bizarre requests in the hope of generating headlines and attention. Like most country shows, a range of foods suiting all diets will be available to visitors and the event is a wonderful opportunity for families to see what the countryside has to offer. A countryside that is enhanced and protected by our farmers. Removing meat and dairy would not only represent an attack on freedom of choice, but also an attack on our hard-working farmers to produce some of the most sustainable meat in the world”.

The debacle is not the first time PETA have attempted to de-rail a country show.

Organisers of a ‘Lamb National’ race in Lincolnshire swiftly ‘ewe-turned’ on a decision to cancel the event after suffering online abuse. PETA had previously argued the event was wrong because the lambs did not provide ‘consent’.

However, organisers later said the decision to cancel had been "rash".

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