A demonstration by activists failed to draw the massive crowds predicted by organisers. / Picture source: Wikimedia Commons

Animals rights demo attracts hundreds instead of thousands as so-called supporters stay away

A DEMONSTRATION by activists failed to draw the massive crowds predicted by organisers.

Only about 600 protestors turned up despite social media traffic suggesting many thousands would attend.

The demo outside the Houses of Parliament in London on August 12 received little coverage in the media.

Britain’s Countryside Alliance, which promotes and protects rural life, said the poor turn out was evidence of a massive disconnect between what happens on social media and the real world.

The march, timed for the start of the grouse shooting season, was led by the BBC’s wildlife campaigner Chris Packham, with a supporting cast of animal rights organisations.

But it failed to draw big crowds suggesting many activists prefer to protest on social media from the comfort of their sofa.

Protestors called for a ban on a range of activities including badger culling, legal hunting and grouse shooting.

Onlookers were confused just what the protestors were calling for and Liam Stokes of  Countryside Alliance dubbed it the ‘Ban Everything’ march.

It had been billed as “Britain’s largest ever wildlife protection march”.

But a blogger who spoke at the march put the attendance at “over 600”.

By comparison 116,000 people went to the UK’s Game Fair to celebrate shooting, hunting, fishing and the rural way of life just two weeks earlier.

And Countryside Alliance’s Liberty and Livelihood March put 400,000 on the streets back in 2002.

Mr Stokes, the Countryside Alliance’s head of shooting, said: “Our consistent message to politicians is that these emails, tweets and petitions are in no way indicative of public opinion.

“The animal rights message is simplistic, and spreads well on social media.

“Some people click the links, send the mass emails and sign the online petitions, but this is no indication of strength of feeling.

“Time and again polling has shown that animal rights issues have no bearing on the wider public’s voting intentions, a point firmly underlined by the failure of the Ban Everything march to turn out the ‘thousands’ of people the organisers clearly expected.”

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