A SAFE (Save Animals from Exploitation) Board member, zoologist Dr Michael Morris, who is one of the leaders of the anti-foie gras campaign directed at the Wellington French restaurant Le Canard, is reported today by The Dominion Post (p. A21) as saying that his five fellow-campaigners, like himself, are “professionals with sensible jobs”. The group has vowed to carry on its protests outside Le Canard restaurant until its foie gras dish is taken off the menu.
SAFE is a registered charity with the Charities Commission headed by Mr Trevor Garrett. Its finanancial accounts (available on line on the Commission’s website www.charities.govt.nz), reveal that in the financial year ended 31 March 2011, it employed nine full-time charity workers and 5 part-timers; all presumably in sensible professional charity jobs funded from the charitable donations SAFE received from charitable New Zealanders, many holding down sensible professionsal jobs.
SAFE records a total annual salary and wages bill of $589,430, for the financial year ended 31 March 2011. This pay-out constituted 61% of the charity’s annual income of $917,315 – the latter derived no doubt from donations given by many New Zealanders employed in sensible professional jobs.
With nine SAFE Board members listed (including two with the name of “Michael Morris” and both appointed on 12 November 2011) on the Charity Commission’s website, it would appear that SAFE’s governance is in multiple professional sensible SAFE hands.
The Cruelty Free Shop that SAFE runs in Auckland is staffed by contractors whose combined annual salary and wages in 2011 was $96,544. The shop ran up a significant trading deficit in 2011 of $54,760, a worse result than the previous year’s deficit of $42,743. Such losses were offset and absorbed from donations made by New Zealanders to SAFE, given by donors in the belief that such monies would help “save animals from exploitation”.
SAFE reported to the Charity Commission that in 2010/2011, 433 hours of paid work on average was carried out each week by SAFE’s employees – 9 full-timers and 5 part-timers. In addition it was reported that 100 volunteers engaged in 200 combined hours of charity work for SAFE each week.
While Le Canard owner Pascal Bedel continues to serve up his traditional French delicacy of foie gras, to the chagrin of charity worker protestors like Dr Morris and his sensible “Speak Up for Animals” team, New Zealand donors will need to be found to fund such sensible and polite placard-welding animal rights taunters, so protestors can muscle on for perhaps many more months if required. For such is the resolve of Le Canard’s owner to continue to whip up his foie gras delights, that the taunters may need to continue their sensible charity work for much longer.
If through the taunts of protestors, Le Canard is forced out of business, SAFE lobbyists will presumably feel they have achieved a wonderful victory, even though they are fully aware that Le Canard’s serving of the French delicacy they are protesting against, is lawful and therefore upholds community standards.
If SAFE’s Cruelty Free Shop runs up a significant financial loss, its members can be assured that the charity hat can be passed around to the New Zealand public yet again, and they will no doubt hand-over their money thinking they are saving ducks and geese and other criters from percecution.
The persecution of a French restaurant owner and his workers by “animal rights activists” closely linked to a registered charity with close on a million dollar annual charity income, suggests that a new charity needs to be set up by those persecuted in order to maintain balanced community standards. Perhaps best called the French Animal Rights Opposition Movement, it would probably be able to offer its sensible professional donors the right to make tax-deductible donations.