Coventry Animal Alliance
Back in 1982, Cocksparrow Fox Farm at Lea Marston, Warwickshire, bred beautiful silver-blue arctic foxes for the fur trade. About 1,500 foxes lived in tiny, filthy cages suffering extreme stress and frustration. Their only release was death, which came by lethal injection before being skinned.
Coventry Animal Alliance was formed with the intention of closing down this animal hellhole and every weekend protesters would hold protests and all night vigils outside the farm. A National Demo was organised and posters were displayed around Coventry. It was one of these posters that got the Phipps family involved in the campaign. A coach took people from Coventry, they joined around 600 others who swamped the farm and the police were totally outnumbered. It was absolute mayhem, windows were smashed and people climbed over the fences into the compound. The coverage by the TV and local newspapers was terrific!
At another National Demo in October 1983, approx 1,500 campaigners from across the Midlands marched 7 miles from Coleshill to the farm where 200 officers greeted them. Trouble erupted as protesters stoned windows, climbed over fencing, smashed cars and wrecked equipment!! 9 people were arrested and it was estimated that more than 1,000 worth of damage was caused!! Reports were that at least one fox cub was rescued. Farm owner Mr Singh Gill was quoted as saying `I will not stop unless the law stops me and I am within the law. I have nothing to hide, the conditions that the protesters say exist, do not.`
In January 1984, over 500 police were on duty to stop any repercussion of previous damage as 2,000 protesters gathered at the farm. Police ensured that protesters didn`t stray off the public footpath that bordered the fox compound but 25 people were arrested for breach of the peace and obstruction. Protesters encircled the farm for over 2 hours, there were several minor scuffles but no one was hurt. Police on duty included 18 mounted officers and dog handlers. Warwickshire Police said the cost of the operation would run into tens of thousands of pounds! A protest organiser said `We hope that we are bringing pressure to bear in order to get these animals released.`
Soon after, the Animal Liberation Front(ALF) raided the farm and rescued over 200 foxes!! That was the end for Cocksparrow Fox Farm but not Coventry Animal Alliance, which went from strength to strength and were one of the most active groups in the country, on demos, hunt sabbing and no doubt some direct action!! Jill Phipps and various members of her family continued to be amongst the most active members. This picture shows Jill and 2 friends doing a leaflet stall in Coventry. At one point, the Coventry group joined forces with Northampton, Leicester and Leamington to form a Midlands coalition.
By the time Barrett Jolley decided to cash in on the live export trade in November 94, most of the original founder members of Coventry Animal Alliance had moved away, but many others had come along to take there place. Jill and her mother Nancy were amongst the most regular protesters at the airport where there were often in excess of 50 people attending the daily weekday protests. Read all the important dates and news in the Coventry live export campaign here
Coventry veal flights came to an end in May 2005, but Coventry protesters were intent on helping other groups end the animal export misery at ports round the country. Regular coach trips were made to demos at Shoreham, Brightlingsea, Dover etc. The regular campaign meetings in Coventry would attract upto 150 people! Campaigners from Coventry became very well known around the country, and were referred to as `the Coventry lot` or `the Coventry crew`. Police around the country were dismayed when they learnt that the `Coventry lot` would be joining a demo!!
In more recent years, campaigns against the vivisection industry have become the focus for Coventry Animal Alliance and the animal rights movement as a whole. Regular coach trips were made to protests at Consort Kennels in Herefordshire which bred beagles for experiments. After an intense 10 month campaign, Consort was closed down in July 1997 and 200 beagles were successfully rehomed. The focus turned to Hillgrove cat farm near Oxford. Once again the cats were bred for animal testing and several huge national demos took place there, involving up to 2,000 people! After 18 months, Hillgrove could take no more and was forced to close down! The 800 cats imprisoned there, were rehomed in August 1999.
Get involved with our protests, stalls and meetings
Sadly, Coventry Animal Alliance today is a far smaller group than it used to be. Despite this, the group is still very active in a wide variety of campaigns both local and around the country. Everything from exotic pet markets to circuses and the meat industry to the fur trade. We also promote the veggie/vegan diets as the best way anyone can help animals whilst also improving their health and helping to save the planet at the same time! Coach and minibus transport is organised to all kinds of events.
We hold a regular weekly protests outside Brandon Greyhound Stadium on Saturday evenings. We call on the general public to boycott the stadium and all greyhound racing due to the huge amount of dogs that suffer and die each year, when their racing days are over!! Please join us from 6.30pm at the entrance to the stadium. For more info please contact us(details below) or see http://www.greyhoundaction.org.uk/CAGE.html
Our monthly meetings normally attract 20+ people and we welcome new faces. Whether you live in Coventry or elsewhere in the region, please come along and get involved. We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at the Friends Meeting House, Hill Street, Coventry. Follow signs for The Belgrade Theatre. The meetings start at 7.30pm prompt and normally last for 2 hours, so don`t worry if you can`t make the start.

Unfortunately, time does not allow us to update this site regularly. If you want to see a list of forthcoming events for Coventry and elsewhere in the West Midlands and also news re animal issues, please take a look at the
West Midlands Animal Action website.

For more details about any of the above, please get in touch:

Coventry Animal Alliance
PO Box 3605, Coventry CV1 3WS
Tel: 07771 953465
Email:
[email protected] or [email protected]
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