A BITTER feud amongst animal rights groups overshadowed a showpiece march by activists, we can reveal.
The League Against Cruel Sports in the UK is locked in a row with its former leader.
John Cooper, QC, 58, a chairman of the the main anti-hunting campaign group has been critical of its leadership.
He was prevented from addressing Britain’s largest ever wildlife protection march on badger culling apparently because he has publicly criticised the charity and its governance.
The radical lawyer was chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports from 1996 to 2011 and stayed on as president until 2015 when he was removed after a row over how some staff were treated.
He reported his worries about governance at the League to the Charity Commission which said it had no concerns.
But then he was banned from speaking at The “Make Badger Culling & Hunting History” march on August 12 in London, organised by the Badger Trust, the Make Hunting History coalition and Care2, an online campaigning organisation based in California.
He had been invited to address the march by the Save Me Trust, which opposes badger culling.
The march organisers said: ”The team have decided that at this march it would not be appropriate for John Cooper to speak due to his relationship with the League Against Cruel Sports.
“We think the past public disputes between them could give pro-hunting and shooting lobbies cause to make trouble. This is by no means any disrespect to John, who we recognise does wonderful work in this field.”
Philippa King, the acting chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, did address the rally.
Frannie Santos-Mawdsley, who chairs animal rights group Born Innocent, slammed Cooper’s ban.
She said “To blackball him from speaking at Saturday’s event is simply perverse and divisive.”
Professor Cooper said: “It seems I have been ostracised because I stood up for staff and I’ve never been forgiven for that.”
The League Against Cruel Sports said: “We are not involved with organising the march so have no say in who is invited to speak.”