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Death of brave anti-cruelty campaigner, Vicki Moore

VM burning candle 1955 - 2000

A Memorial Service, to celebrate Vicki's life, will take place at 12 noon,
Saturday, 8th April, 2000 in the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
The Service will be open to all who would like to attend,
to remember Vicki and pray for the animals.

Irish Council Against Blood Sports pays tribute

Vicki with dog The world has lost one of its most compassionate, courageous and inspirational anti-cruelty campaigners with the untimely death of Vicki Moore at 44 on 6th February, 2000.

Vicki, from Merseyside, England, founded the Fight Against Cruelty in Europe along with her husband, Tony, and together they led the campaign against bullfighting and Spanish fiestas involving cruelty to cattle, donkeys, goats, poultry and pigs.

Vicki and Tony's campaign hit the spotlight in 1991 with an horrific UTV documentary which showed scenes of animal cruelty in Spain, filmed by the couple at great personal risk. They took their video evidence to the European Parliament and campaigned for an amendment to the Treaty of Rome whereby animals would be classed as sentient beings with feelings rather than mere produce. This protocol was finally adopted in 1997.

Vicki, originally a night-club singer and actress, was propelled into campaigning against the cruel fiestas in 1987 when she learned of a Spanish donkey-crushing festival. She promptly headed off for Spain, and bought Blackie the donkey in order to save him from being ridden to exhaustion in the streets. Blackie was taken back to the UK to a sanctuary in Devon where he happily spent the remaining six years of his life.

Vicki and Tony returned to Spain several times over the years, collecting video evidence of horrendous cruelty to animals. In 1995, Vicki nearly lost her life while filming, when she was very badly gored at a bullrun. Despite her severe injuries, and a long spell in hospital, she vowed to fight on, and last summer when she was suffering crippling pain, she again went to Spain to collect more evidence of animal cruelty.

Vicki was interviewed on the Rodney Rice programme on RTE last summer in response to a request from ICABS following much publicity about a group of Irish men taking part in a bullrun at Pamplona to raise funds for the Irish Kidney Association.

Vicki explained that the bull run or "encierro" at Pamplona is a tourist-driven and sanitised version of the real bull runs, of which there are approximately 15,000 throughout Spain. In these, the animals (sometimes including calves as young as two months old) can be tortured for hours by being stoned, stabbed and dragged along the ground by tractors. She went on to say that their tails and horns may also be wrenched off before they are killed - at this point they are literally crawling on their knees with pain, exhaustion and thirst.

Vicki revealed that the whole bullrunning industry is driven by greed in that the breeders can fetch up to 4,000 for an animal used in an event. Such bulls may have been rejected for bull-fighting, and would only fetch a couple of hundred pounds from the slaughterhouse.

When Rodney Rice asked Vicki why she continued to do what she did, particularly after her horrific experience at the Coria bullrun, she replied that she had been "handed a sort of cross".

"I was asked to do it by Spanish people who feel strongly about this - and there are millions of people in Spain who feel strongly against this sort of thing, but who don't have a public voice. They begged me to try and publicise it and bring support from outside of Spain - from Europe - from anybody who would listen and help. My cross was handed to me. I thought long and hard about taking it up, but I did and it's been a long road, a sad road and a bitter road, but I just pray to God that eventually sanity will prevail and there will be some justice for the animals."

And there was some justice when the appalling ritual involving the decapitation of chickens at Nalda was eventually banned thanks to the courage and persistence of Vicki and Tony Moore.

ICABS extends deepest sympathy to Tony Moore on the loss of his beloved Vicki. May she rest in peace, and may the enormous sacrifices she made for vulnerable, tortured innocent animals achieve the justice she so desperately wanted.

Liverpool Echo pays tribute

Merseyside animal rights campaigner Vicki Moore died yesterday at the age of 44. Here Paddy Shennan pays tribute to a woman who was never afraid to risk her life for what she believed in.

Selfless, tireless, fearless, passionate, devoted and determined - Vicki Moore was all these things and more. Much more. She was a born fighter and, above everything else, she was compassionate. And she reserved that compassion for the countless, helpless animals across Europe who faced a cruel and tortuous death.

Vicki spent so much time, so much effort and so much money fighting the good fight against the bloodthirsty bull-baiters and the sick sadists who bullied and slaughtered all kinds of creatures great and small in the name of fun and sport.

Why is she doing it, the cynics would ask. Why does she care? Perhaps it was because nobody else did.

The animal rights crusader became the scourge of the bloodthirsty bull-baiters of Spain, in particular.

She often found herself at the mercy of thugs who were furious that this lone woman from another country was intent on stopping their pleasure.

Intent and often successful. That she faced regular threats and occasional beatings was a tribute to the power and influence she developed over the years.

To the outsider, it looked like the achievements of a single white female but it wasn't. And Vicki Moore, who was recognised as an Echo Mersey Marvel during her incredible life, was always the first to correct anybody who thought that was the case.

Vicki was able to go on her troubleshooting European tours because of her rock back home in Southport - husband Tony Moore, the quiet campaigner who stayed firmly in the background.

"We were two people who were one," a devastated Tony said after his wife's death.

That was so true. Twelve years ago, when the Echo first told the story of one of the region's most incredible double acts, Tony Moore told me he was in debt. He told me his wife left him for weeks on end to stay in hotels across Europe. He was left alone to look after the house, two dogs, ten cats...and a bundle of bills. But he wouldn't have had it any other way.

Their lives had turned upside down about a year or so earlier, when Vicki read a couple of lines in a newspaper about what Spanish villagers had in mind for a helpless donkey at their annual fiesta.

The animal, set to be ridden to its death in a ceremony at Villanueva de la Vera, was later christened Blackie. It seemed to be a story which had everything, even a happy ending. The interest generated in the media by the Moores helped save the donkey, who spent the rest of its life at a sanctuary in Devon.

Things would never be the same again for Vicki and Tony Moore.

Vicki, a singer and a Shakespearean actress, met her husband-to-be on the cabaret circuit where they later worked together, putting on their own brand of musical comedy. Now it was time for Vicki to take a giant leap onto the world stage.

It was decided that Tony would keep things ticking over at home and he became the silent partner who shied away from the limelight, preferring to wait in the wings and act as prompter.

He was also the anchorman of the Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe (FAACE), which the couple launched in August 1987. Explaining how their roles were worked out, he said: "If I get upset when I'm talking to people, I tend to lose my rag, whereas Vicki can place an argument neatly and get her point across."

Vicki spent the rest of her life putting her point across forcefully across the killing fields of Europe whether it was the "blood fiestas" in Spain or, much closer to home, at the Waterloo Cup at Altcar.

She often found herself at the mercy of drunken, rampaging hooligans during her many visits to Spain - on one terrifying occasion she was clubbed on the head while shotguns were fired within inches of her face.

One cowardly yob told her: "We want to blast your face to leave you with a souvenir of Villanueva!" It was something the campaigner got used to but it was something which never deflected her from her path.

Tragically, it wasn't a sick human but a frightened animal which indirectly led to Vicki's premature death.

Husband Tony believes she had never fully recovered from being gored by a bull in 1995 - a sickening incident captured by a film crew and shown around the world.

She was attacked by the animal during an annual fiesta at Coria, near to Spain's border with Portugal. During the summer, festival bulls are forced to run through the streets whilst being showered with sharp paper darts fired from blowpipes.

At the time of the attack she had been trying to secretly film the event for British television. Vicki was tossed into the air 10 times. She was gored 11 times in the chest, back, groin, legs and also suffered a punctured lung and eight badly smashed ribs.

Vicki had kept her continuing health problems secret - she didn't want to deflect attention away from animals in danger onto herself. That was typical of a woman whose fighting spirit knew no boundaries.

In a tribute to Vicki, animal rights activist Carla Lane said: "There are millions who will feel the way she did, but there are only a very few strong voices."

Vicki Moore spoke up for all kinds of animals in all kinds of situations and, at times, she was often a lone voice. But it was a powerful voice and, eventually, the world did begin to listen as TV crews followed the campaigner on her travels.

She was a woman of action. A woman who cared. A woman who will never be forgotten.

A life of heroism - editorial, Liverpool Echo

The only thing that mattered to Vicki Moore was the animals.

The premature death of Vicki will be received with great sadness, not only by animal rights campaigners but by many people who have never marched in protest or held a banner aloft.

The vast majority of us emphatically agree that slaughtering bulls for sport or watching hares being torn to shreds by mad dogs is barbaric and intolerable.

Yet we leave it to rare men and women like Vicki to get up and do something about it all.

Vicki spoke quietly and softly in defence of the animals that the world exploits. Yet, if you listened hard enough, you could hear a real passion in her voice, one that explained why she was devoting her life to helping the creatures we treat with such contempt.

And then there were her actions.

Perhaps they seemed foolhardy at times to those who did not understand her but, to those who did, they amounted to bravery beyond belief as she fought on the frontline for the cause she believed in so deeply.

Time and again Vicki risked the wrath of the Spanish people and their authorities as she went undercover with her camera to gather evidence on bull fighting and bull running.

The ultimate irony therefore was that she should be gored within a whisker of death by a terrified bull five years ago. The fact that Vicki was able to survive her appalling injuries and continue the fight for animal rights proved just how strong and determined a woman she really was.

She struggled in pain for years with the legacy of those injuries but preferred not to talk about her own daily plight, for fear it would detract from that of the animals she championed.

That summed up her spirit and her focus.

Vicki was a hero to the cause, because to her the cause mattered far more than the heroics.

Contact details - Fight Against Cruelty in Europe

Address: Fight Against Cruelty in Europe (FAACE), 29 Shakespeare Street, Southport, Merseyside PR8 5AB, UK

Telephone: +44 (0)1704 535922

Fax: +44 (0)1704 546384

Email: faace@btconnect.com

Website: http://www.faace.co.uk

Vicki Moore photographs © 2000 FAACE

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