Victorian School Bell On The Auction Block To Help Forest Of Dean’S Wild Boars

For Immediate Release:

10 September 2014


Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; [email protected]

PETA Founder’s Family Heirloom on Sale to Help Fight Proposed Cull and Prevent Wild Population’s Extinction

Coleford, Gloucestershire – The wild boar population of the Forest of Dean is in danger, with a controversial cull planned that would kill dozens of animals. Animal activists around the world are speaking out against the plan, including PETA, and the organisation’s founder, Ingrid Newkirk, has taken an extraordinary step, placing up for auction a hundred-year-old family heirloom – the bell her great-uncle, who was the headmaster of a grammar school in Coleford, rang from his school’s steps each morning. The proceeds of the auction will help fund activists’ fight against the cull.

“My great-uncle Sidney and my father, who spent his boyhood in Coleford, loved the Forest of Dean – they knew its paths and peculiarities well and, as amateur ethologists and hobby botanists, appreciated the trees, plants, birds and other wildlife in it”, Newkirk says. “Both would be whirling in their graves at the thought that the wild boars were being cavalierly dismissed as ‘pests’ and would say that the real pests are the human interlopers who appreciate nothing natural, only artificial constructs and pleasures. I am glad to sell this bell if the proceeds might be used to preserve the boars who call the forest home.”

Boars became extinct in England 300 years ago but were reintroduced to the Forest of Dean in the 1990s, and their rooting has helped insects and plants to flourish in the freshly turned soil. In 2012, the cull was suspended because of concerns that the number of boars had dropped too low and the species could be eradicated. PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – notes that since there are varied estimates of the number of boars, the cull could lead to the species’ extinction. It could also cause a spike in the food supply, which would prompt surviving animals to breed at an accelerated rate, leading to a continuous and pointless killing cycle.

Pictures of the bell are available to download here and here. For more information, please visit