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Watchdog rejects animal rights campaigner’s complaint against daily

IPSO_logo_newAn animal rights campaigner who claimed a regional daily wrongly attributed quotes to  him has had his complaint thrown out by the press watchdog.

The campaigner, who uses the nom-de-plume Lewis Foxhall although it is not his real name, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation over the Express & Star’s coverage of a protest against the use of animals in circuses.

The paper reported that a circus had come to Rugeley, in Staffordshire, and in response to previous animal welfare protests, it would not feature lions or tigers in its shows.

It said that despite this, animal welfare protesters had planned a further demonstration to express concern over the circus’ use of other animals at its shows.

The story included the comments from an animal welfare campaigner – named as Mr Foxhall – setting out his position that animals should not perform in circuses, that the group hoped that “around 30″ people would turn up to protest, and that a group of protesters had “followed [the circus] in recent weeks”.

Mr Foxhall complained to IPSO that the story breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), claiming that he had not made the comments attributed to him in the article, and that he was not 22 years old as reported.

He said it was also inaccurate to report that a group of protesters had “followed” the circus around – instead a number of local groups had organised separate demonstrations as the circus moved.

Mr Foxhall said that he had not made these comments to any journalist, and that the only contact he had with the newspaper prior to publication was when he had provided it with a press release about the protest. This included his telephone number and email address.

The Express & Star did not accept the comments were inaccurately attributed to Lewis Foxhall. Prior to the first article’s publication, it had received a phone call from someone who had identified themselves by that name who provided the comments.

During the course of the conversation, the person calling provided a telephone number and email address which matched the complainant’s contact details as set out in the press release which he had provided prior to publication; the phone number the person had dialled from also matched this.

The newspaper did apologise for getting Mr Foxhall’s age wrong, and offered to either publish a correction or to publish a piece on the topic of animal welfare with the complainant’s input.

The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.


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  • May 4, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Animal rights protestors. Some of the most unpleasant people I encountered in my career, though not of course this person. Loved animals, could not get on with humans it seemed.

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  • May 4, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Animal Welfare or Animal Rights?

    Here are some of the differences:
    As animal welfare advocates. . .

    · We seek to improve the treatment and well-being of animals.
    · We support the humane treatment of animals that ensures comfort and freedom from unnecessary pain and suffering.
    · We believe we have the right to “own” animals — they are our property.
    · We believe animal owners should provide loving care for the lifetime of their animals.

    As animal rights activists. . .

    · They seek to end the use and ownership of animals, including the keeping of pets.
    · They believe that any use of an animal is exploitation so, not only must we stop using animals for food and clothing, but pet ownership must be outlawed as well.
    · They want to obtain legal rights for animals as they believe that animals and humans are equal.
    · They use false and unsubstantiated allegations of animal abuse to raise funds, attract media attention and bring supporters into the movement.
    · (The Inhumane Crusade, Daniel T. Oliver – Capital Research Center)
    For more information:

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  • May 4, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Very pleased to see this silly complaint was rejected. This story goes to show how silly the animal rights movement has become. Not only do they protest outside a legal business, they harass members of the public who wish to attend such an event and cause a public nuisance on a public road. At Rugely, there was I believe a small protest, no where near the 30 supposedly expected and they do follow around the circus, as the same faces appear outside the show each week. I know, I have photos of them! And no I don’t work for the circus but am interested in circuses, the protestors add another dimension to the afternoon out at the circus.
    So its ok to make false claims about the circus but he moans when quoted in the press, he contacted in the first place. To give your contact details and a press release and then complain when the paper quotes you, is plain stupid. This person who doesn’t even use his own name, is a complete moron.

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  • May 10, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    It’s nice of The Express & Star to offer to publish a story on the topic of Animal welfare – I hope they ended up doing this! Really glad such an important protest was covered by local press, shame about the little mistakes. I cannot believe we still exploit Animals in circuses in this day and age.

    Also, like Elizabeth said, it’s more about Animal rights than Animal welfare. This was surely about Animal rights. Well done to the activists involved by the way : )

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