by Kasia Giedroyc
TWO WEEKS before "animal rights" protestors were due to storm a veal farm in West Sussex run by Norbertine White Canons, the monks announced their decision to close the business.
The Premonstratensian Canons at Our Lady of England Priory, Storrington, used the continental crating method of rearing calves at Gerston Farm and became the target for vigorous protests from animal rights groups.
Earlier this year, they were cleared of nine charges of cruelty under the 1911 Protection of Animals Act and the 1968 Agricultural Act. The animal rights group, Compassion in World Farming, which brought the case, was ordered to pay 112,000 in costs.
The Appeal Court ruled that the animals has not been caused any unnecessary suffering.
The Prior, the Rt Rev George Joye issued a statement last week announcing his decision to put the farm on the market. He said: "Due to the introduction of the milk quotas and subsequent shortage of calves our farm became uneconomic."
Carol Long, education officer for Compassion in World Farming, said: "It will give us extra encouragement to continue our battle against other veal farms, as we understand there are 10,000 calves being reared in crates in Britain. It's very cruel and should be banned."
A spokesman for Churchill's Estate Agents who are handling the sale told.the Catholic Herald that the 20 acres, buildings and equipment would go to the highest bidder.
He said that conditions on the farm, which can house up to 750 calves, were very hygienic and emphasised that his company had no control whatsoever over the use to which the farm would be put by the purchaser.
Mrs Mary Bocking, lion Secretary of the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare and acting editor of The Ark said she hoped that Storrington would not continue as a veal farm.
• Bishop Agnellus Andrew of Numana, President of the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, accompanied the Dean of Westminster and other members of the Christian Consultative Council for the Welfare of Animals on a tour of the Biology Unit of the Royal Free Hospital last Monday, at the invitation of David Mellor MP, Secretary of State at the Home Office. The visit was part of the Council's effort to monitor treatment of animals in laboratories .