Musician withdraws from pro-hunt concert
27 April 2007
International music star, Robert Wells, has angrily withdrawn from a fundraiser for a group which promotes hunting. The anti-blood sports pianist said that he initially agreed to perform at the Countryside Alliance event after being told that they didn't have "anything to do with foxhunting".
The Countryside Alliance, previously known as the British Field Sports Society, is a pro-hunting organisation which has defended not only foxhunting but also cruel activities such as hare coursing and terrier work. It has called for the repeal of the UK's Hunting Act which brought foxhunting to an end in England and Wales.
Robert Wells says that he was unaware of this when he agreed to be one of the top performers at the event. In an interview with a Swedish newspaper, Mr Wells commented that he “felt that they were keeping something from me when they denied that the Countryside Alliance had anything to do with foxhunting".
"As far as I knew, this concert was in support of nature and countryside, and then this crap shows up,” he said. "That’s when I said 'that is against my beliefs', and I cancelled. I warned them not to mess with me or I’d get really pissed off.”
It is believed that Mr Wells became aware of the CA's pro-hunting campaigns after a Swedish journalist contacted Animal Aid, the UK's largest animal rights group.
Commented Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler: ”Robert Wells is a musician of talent, sensitivity and discernment. He was therefore appalled to think he’d nearly been conned into performing at a concert promoting the killing of animals for pleasure. It’s time Eric Clapton and company followed his life-affirming example."
In a letter to Robert Wells this week, ICABS commended his decision to withdraw from the gig.
"We can confirm that the Countryside Alliance is involved in promoting hunting," we said. "In a recent newspaper article (Irish Examiner, 8th March 2007), a spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance was quoted as saying that 'we will always have field sports [i.e. blood sports] at our core'."
About Robert Wells: Born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1962, Robert Wells is a world famous pianist, entertainer, singer and composer. He has toured the world for over a decade with his “Rhapsody in Rock” show and several of his albums have gone gold and/or platinum. He has been invited to compose and perform the music for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. More info can be found on the Robert Wells Official Website.