Heart of Gold: RIP, Dame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera, who has died aged 103, demonstrated that same commitment to the well-being of animals. She joined forces with PETA on numerous occasions, repeatedly using her iconic voice to stand up for them.
A Heart of Gold
After viewing PETA’s pigeon-racing exposé, she didn’t hesitate to speak out, decrying the “utterly cruel pastime” in which the birds, whose forebears served the United Kingdom by carrying vital messages during both world wars, are shipped to the Continent then forced to fly, exhausted, back across the Channel.
She said, “With hundreds of thousands of birds lost at sea each year, the Channel has become a veritable bird graveyard for these forgotten heroes.”
Dame Vera had a place in her heart for geese and ducks, too. In a letter to Fortnum & Mason, she wrote that the retailer had tarnished its reputation by selling foie gras: “For a department store with such a proud British heritage, it made me sad that you would wish to tarnish it by associating yourself with the force-feeding of animals.” Production of the “cruelty in a tin” is so abhorrent – to make foie gras, geese are force-fed until their livers become painfully swollen – that it’s illegal to make it in the UK and more than a dozen other countries.
More recently, she spoke out against the cruel killing of bears for the Queen’s Guard’s caps:
“As an animal lover, I am saddened to know that bears are still being gunned down for the Queen’s Guard’s caps. Some traditions aren’t worth saving, and the Ministry of Defence can easily make the switch to cruelty-free faux fur, which is the kind thing to do and what the British public demands. I hope to see this happen during my lifetime.”
Sadly, she didn’t live to see that wish realised, but we’ll continue the work until no bear is gunned down so that their fur can be turned into a piece of ceremonial headwear. Dame Vera’s dedication to ending violence against animals was unfaltering. She had a very special place in her heart for them and undoubtedly made a difference to their lives by calling for an end to their suffering across various industries.
Honouring Dame Vera
As we celebrate the life of this remarkable woman, we can honour her by speaking out against animal exploitation in all its forms, too. Rest in peace, Dame Vera – forever in our hearts.