England: Remembering Vicki Moore – British Animal Activist – Died 6/2/2000. “The fleece of the lamb could not hide the teeth of the wolf.”
By Danny Penman
VICKI MOORE was a leading light in the animal-rights movement and a tireless campaigner against bloodsports across the world. Even the most vociferous of bullfighters acknowledged her determination and bravery.
Moore first hit the headlines in 1987 when she saved Blackie the donkey. Blackie was destined to be crushed to death in Villa Nueva de la Vera, Spain, during the village’s annual fiesta. Every year, the villagers forced a donkey to carry the fattest man around the streets until the unfortunate creature was crushed and died of exhaustion.
After hearing of the donkey’s plight, Moore vowed to stop the festival. Sensing a fight, Britain’s tabloid newspapers all despatched reporters to the fiesta. Within hours of their arrival, rival newspapers started out-bidding each other to buy Blackie and fly him to a British donkey sanctuary.
Over the ensuing days, television crews and journalists from all over the world arrived in the tiny village. Drama soon descended into farce when Blackie was sold to both the Sun and the Star simultaneously. The resulting confusion led to a fist-fight between rival photographers and bitter exchanges between their editors. Moore settled their claims in characteristic style by declaring that “everyone had helped save Blackie”.
She was born Victoria Seel. Her mother was a club singer and gave birth to her daughter whilst touring Northamptonshire in 1956. Vicki followed in her mother’s footsteps and left home in London at the age of 18 and worked as a bunny-girl at the Kingsway club in Southport. It was here that she met Tony Moore, her future husband. The pair married when she was 20 and formed their own band. In the late Seventies, the couple became involved with the RSPCA and soon had a house full of rescued animals.
The publicity generated by Blackie’s rescue in 1987 turned the spotlight on Spain’s blood fiestas. Moore realised that nations could be humbled by exposing their cruel truth to the outside world. To do this she and Tony set up Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe in September 1987 in their Southport home. At great risk to herself, she exposed the scale of animal suffering in the blood fiestas using the simple power of the home video camera.
Her first video expose focused on the village of Manganeses de la Polvorosa in 1989. Every year, the villagers celebrated the feast of St Anthony by dropping a live goat off the church tower. Once captured on video, and shown to a horrified world, the festival was quickly outlawed by the Spanish government. Later she would pose as a tourist at fiestas across Spain, all the while gathering the evidence to shut them down. It was during one of her campaigns that she suffered the injuries which eventually led to her death.
In June 1995, in Coria, she was gored by a bull being chased through the village streets. Argentino inflicted massive injuries and no one expected her to survive. But her spirit refused to be cowed. Her first words after regaining consciousness were, “What happened to the bull?” When she discovered the bull’s name, she giggled: her favourite song was “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”. In subsequent years, when the pain of her injuries became too great, she would quietly call on the spirit of Argentino to help her.
Despite her ongoing suffering, requiring constant medication, Moore continued to fight for animal liberation. She was a determined campaigner against hunting, and never tired of reminding Labour politicians of their promise to ban blood sports. She also took the fight against bullfighting to Macao.
Vicki Moore’s life was, perhaps, best summed up by a Spanish newspaper after she was gored by Argentino: “The fleece of the lamb could not hide the teeth of the wolf.”
Victoria Lucille Seel, animal-rights campaigner: born Western Favel, Northamptonshire 24 December 1956; married 1977 Tony Moore; died Liverpool 6 February 2000.
Copyright 2000 Newspaper Publishing PLC