Lush attacked for defending wildlife
Last month pioneering ethical company Lush launched the Fabulous Mrs Fox bubble bar to raise money for the Hunt Sabs Association (HSA). The bar features a "blood-red fox pawprint" design and contains citronella, a scent chosen because hunt sabs use it to disguise foxes scent and send hounds off the trail.
In reaction pro-hunting rag Horse and Hound launched a boycott campaign against the company. We normally report on boycotts from the point of view of the organisation calling the boycott. In this instance, we were more concerned to hear Lush' side of the story.
Hilary Jones, Lush’s Ethics Director, tells Ethical Consumer why they chose to support the HSA and gives her account of the ensuing campaign against the company.
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) are a group who have steadfastly stuck with the issue of hunting and are out in the field come rain or shine bearing witness to the goings on, and, where possible coming between the hounds and the fox. They are doing their best to protect our wildlife, often putting themselves at risk in the process. So being able to lend them a small helping hand in this way seemed like the least we could do.
"We have never encountered this kind of hostility"
We have campaigned on many issues over the years on issues that have been judged by some as controversial - but we have never encountered this kind of hostility. We are a little surprised and rather saddened that some from the hunting community feel the need to defend their 'pastime' in such an aggressive way.
Our Chelmsford shop had a man come in and sweep the whole display of the Fabulous Mrs Fox bubble bars onto the floor and walk out. He came back the next day and did the same thing again, but this time he said that he would be back every day to do it until we stopped selling it.
On day three when he arrived the manager recognised him and stood between him and the display and told him to leave the shop. He started shouting and arguing. She told him that if he didn't leave immediately that she would call the police.
At this point there was a couple being served at the till, and the gentleman stepped forward and said "You don't have to - we are already here" and pulled out his warrant card. Turns out he was off duty and shopping with his wife. He made the guy leave - and since then he's not returned.
In Taunton we held a 'meet the Hunt Sabs' event for the coming Saturday, with people from HSA coming to the shop to talk to customers. They received a call saying that if the event went ahead 'there will be trouble'.
They did go ahead with the event, and there was no disturbance. But perhaps only because the shop manager pointed out to the person that the shop phone had caller ID and the caller had failed to restrict their number from view.
'F*ck You' scratched into the glass
There were other instances. Our Maidstone shop had 'F*ck You' scratched into the glass and a kebab smeared across the window - as a vegetarian company, I don't need to tell you which we found the most offensive.
While another which was shop was open late, hosting a child's birthday party, when they received a call from someone saying they were watching them and they had better 'watch their backs'. They also had Keep Hunting stickers stuck outside the shop. While the Plymouth shop had Countryside Alliance stickers super-glued to the window.
But we can't allow ourselves to give in to bullying. An unlawful minority chose to make us the target of their hate campaigns - but they can't change the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
Hunting with hounds is cruel and has no place in a modern society and that is why we chose to highlight it. We will always try to speak up about the things that we think are wrong. Others don't have to agree with us or share our views, but they are our shops and we will use them to speak up for those without a voice whenever we see fit.
We are proud to be associated with the Hunt Saboteurs Association and hope that one day they will no longer be needed and can retire to peace and obscurity because hunting has become a thing of the past.
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