The publication of this article on 7 August received a lot of attention and a very high number of viewings. In consideration of its length, I am therefore re-publishing the same text divided into four parts, which will have been posted over four consecutive days on the AWAT Facebook and Twitter pages. This is the last part.
You can read the first part of the article by clicking here
You can read the second part of the article by clicking here
You can read the third part of the article by clicking here
Early the following morning (5 June), Christa replied as follows:
I accept your suspense of all activities for Animals’ Angels for the time being.
I suggest that you consider the impact on your reputation, if you leave the 8 hours campaign for good.
I am prepared to consider further cooperation, but only according to certain rules, which have to be observed at all times and are actually quite ordinary in the professional world.
I am the boss of Animals’ Angels and the boss of the 8 hours campaign and I wish to be treated with due respect and consideration.
This mail is an attempt in blackmail and I will pretend it did not happen. But never ever try this again.
Founder and President Animals’ Angels”
Both Christa and Michael avoided speaking to me, so other people tried to act as messenger between us. I even offered to take over the 8hours campaign as AnimalWelfareAndTrade. I would personally have paid for the tickets to attend a number of upcoming important meetings, and would have started asking the supporting organisations to fund the campaign, since I would have lost my main contractor. My proposal sprang from conversations held some weeks earlier, when Christa had suggested that I should start exploring what other organisation might take over 8hours, because Animals’ Angels wanted to give it away.
On 6 June, I was told that Christa had agreed to the offer I had made, and I simply asked for a couple of lines in writing to confirm this, so that I could start arranging meetings and contact groups to explore funding possibilities. Knowing how often Christa and Michael had changed their minds, I wanted some protection from sudden U-turns before proceeding. This was refused. I even drafted a provisional contract to facilitate this process, but to no avail.
Having several meetings lined up and not feeling I could keep everyone on hold for at least another ten days as requested by Christa, I prepared a message announcing that I was no longer the coordinator of 8hours and that people should therefore contact Christa instead. We could not possibly leave government and Commission officials waiting. Part of the success of a campaign like 8hours is based on prompt, reliable and clear responses, and anything different from that can undermine it.
On 7 June I received a quick call from Michael Blanke, who said he only had two minutes to talk and that I had his word that I could continue to use the 8hours name until the meeting in Frankfurt the following week. I asked again for a brief email confirmation of Animals’ Angels’ intention to hand over the 8hours campaign to AnimalWelfareAndTrade, because the last official message I had in writing was from Christa on 5 June, stating: “all activities re 8 hours are on hold for the moment, for […] as well as for Adolfo”. That written confirmation was refused too, and since there was no way I could rely on another vague reassurance over the phone, I told Michael that I was going to circulate the communication regarding the end of my role as 8hours coordinator, asking people to contact his wife if they had any urgent enquiries. Michael asked me to refer people to his email address instead, and I agreed to do so. That might have been the end of the matter if further derogatory messages had not been circulated and payments withheld for no reason at all.
On 7 June I circulated the following message:
I am writing to inform you that [...] and I are no longer working for Animals’ Angels nor represent 8hours.
Please direct all your future communications related to 8hours to Michael Blanke, Director of Animals’ Angels, at [Michael Blanke’s email].
Both [...] and I wish to thank you all for the amazing work done together to end long-distance live animal transport in Europe, and we wish our best for all your future activities and endeavours.
Some of you are long-standing friends, while others have become closer during our work for 8hours. In either case, if you want to remain in touch in the future please contact us at [Adolfo’s email] or [...].
Thank you again for all your support,
So what next?
What Christa and Michael Blanke have done and failed to do since they have been in sole charge of 8hours is for them to explain.
I hope this article has answered the question, ‘What happened with the 8hours campaign?’ The more important question – ‘What is it going to happen with it?’ – must now be answered by Animals’ Angels. Christa has finally had her opportunity to “organize the activities re 8 hours [sic] more professionally”, and I for one have not noticed any great progress in the campaign since 4 June. If progress is not made, Christa and Michael will no doubt absolve their own actions as two thirds of the Animals’ Angels board, while transported animals will continue to suffer unnecessarily for many years to come.
It’s not the first time that a campaign – on animal welfare or rights, human rights or environmental issues – has been destroyed from the inside, and sadly it won’t be the last. As usual, nobody will be held accountable for the opportunities missed in what over the last two years had become the main animal welfare campaign in Europe.
I hope that Christa and Michael will stop feeling the need to wage yet another war against former collaborators who just want to carry on working on behalf of animals instead of wasting time with infighting or even legal battles. I am pretty sure that most of the people who give their money to Animals’ Angels would agree.
Please feel free to ask Animals’ Angels for their version of what happened and for news on what is happening with 8hours now. As much as I would like to forget about this unpleasant situation, I nevertheless make myself available to respond publicly to any further developments in the future.
You can read the full article by clicking here