Nov 222016
 

Suzanne Kelly reports the latest claims from controversial commercial farm-cum-rescue for farm animals – an alleged break in, vandalism and deliberate ‘poisoning’ of a young Shetland pony.

open-day-july-15-sign-says-all-farm-animals-and-shows-animals-northfield-actually-slaughterAs has been demonstrated in previous AV articles, Northfield Animal Haven owner, Kelly Cable has engaged in some bizarre fundraising schemes, and animals have been injured, frozen to death and overfed to death at the New Pitsligo premises.
On the afternoon of 15 November 2015, a woman named Jackie Dow posted on facebook that Northfield Animal Haven had suffered a break in on the night of 14 November.

She wrote:

“hello to the evil people who went to Northfield Animal Haven last night. hope you are proud of yourselfs as you cut all the wire so the sheep could get out. and you poisoned my pony who sadly died today. call yoursels animal lovers. I don’t think so. This vendetta needs to stop before any other animals suffer and thanks to you I will have to spend a fortune on vet bills. what did my boy do to deserve it…. and if the people who did this are reading this hope you are proud of yoursels.” 
– Jackie Dow on NAH’s facebook page, 15 Nov 2016.

Aberdeen Voice sent Ms Dow an email to clarify why she thinks she knows who did this act, why she thinks they are animal lovers and what vendetta she is referring to. When / if she replies, we will print her response.

Northfield also echoed this allegation; on its Facebook page owner Kelly Cable wrote:

“got up this morning to find fencing cut out onto main road for the sheep and horses, lovely little auguero who everyone met at the Super Saturday locked in a portacabin and sadly he was very toxic, no gut sounds at all so he had to be pts [put to sleep]. Very evil twisted people out there and when they get caught I hope they throw the book at them.”
– Northfield Animal Haven Facebook page.

It seems that Ms Dow and Eric Cable had suspects for this very odd crime in mind – and Eric decided to name me and blame me for this event:

“Well the haters have really done it this time. A 22 month old Shetland pony poisoned last night after locking it in a feed store I hope that cowbag Suzanne Kelly is f**king happy with her work now the most evil bast///on on this planet I believe that she is now encouraging activists and it looks like they decided to pay a visit last night cut fence wire let sheep out locked a trusting wee pony into a portakabin and poison the wee toot… the vets want to speak to the police when they arrive.”

The Cables assert in their posts on the incident that the press and police were informed. 

However, when alerted to this development, I telephoned the Police Scotland media arm – the spokesperson could find no such report. On Monday 21 November the police now have an incident report – which only concerns a fence. No pony is mentioned.

The police have been asked to say when this incident was reported considering there was no such report on their books when Eric Cable’s post claimed the vet wanted to speak to the police when they arrived. It currently seems that while Cable wrote those words about police arriving, the police had no information whatsoever about the incident. 

Sources associated with local newspapers were unaware of anyone contacting them about a poisoned animal or vandalism. No news reports have been published about this alleged incident which was meant to have happened 6 days ago. There was no outreach from Northfield to other shelters in the area to warn them of potential vandals in the area.

The very idea of the crime is a bizarre one. There are many incidents of livestock being stolen, and last year there was a horrific attack on a mare in a field.

But to cut a fence and then, oddly, to sneak past the CCTV system it is understood operates at NAH, for the purpose of taking one of the 170+ animals and locking it inside a feed store beggars belief.

In the past, two animals at Northfield were allowed to overeat with fatal consequences. In a separate incident, an elderly horse was left to freeze to death in a field. Could this possibly be yet another instance demonstrating that a woman with health issues (in her own words) might not be best able to look after 170 animals?

Things took a dark turn following Eric Cable’s post. Several people made threatening posts, and one man who had in the past made threats, shared Jackie Dow’s post over 2 dozen times. The threats were reported to Police Scotland. Many have since been deleted from facebook.

Two of the more concerning threats were:

“They won’t be so smart when we get hold of them. Silent justice and as for that f**king reporter and her pals it’s on f**kers”

and …

“I will find you. I will hurt you.”

There are many times over the course of investigating how the Cables operate that I have been called a liar by Eric and Kelly Cable. I have asked them to apologise for the defamatory remarks – or to at the very least point out what portions of my articles they consider to be ‘lies’.

All of my claims have sources – very often I am quoting back contradictory claims that Kelly Cable has herself made over the course of time.

One day she will say NAH rescues all farm animals; the next she claims everyone knows they also sell animals at the Thainstone market and it’s not her affair what happens to such sold animals.

She will one day say that no animal will ever be put to sleep whilst her fundraising appeals clearly say that unless money is found, animals will be put to sleep. 

The Cables have been asked to apologise on Facebook, Twitter and to the Aberdeen Voice for publication of a full apology, or I will have no choice but to seek legal remedy for the ongoing, serious defamation – and not least this latest unfounded attack by Mr Cable which seems to have led to threats of violence.

In a previous facebook post, Kelly Cable had gave her permission for me to see her veterinarian’s records; I wrote to the vet at the time, who refused to release any information. 

After this alleged pony poisoning and Eric Cable’s post saying the vet wanted to speak to the police (who had not been told about a poisoned pony it should be remembered), I emailed the vet once again. A source made me aware of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ position:

‘The duty of confidentiality is important but it is not absolute and information can be disclosed in certain circumstances, for example where the client’s consent has been given, where disclosure can be justified by animal welfare concerns or the wider public interest.’

Considering Northfield has been asking the public for money for years and, as previous articles demonstrate, sometimes doing so under false pretences, and considering the number of animals injured and neglected at Northfield over time, it is hoped the vet will release information.

Since this poisoning tale appeared on Facebook, someone was in touch concerning a pony that died there of blood poisoning – how many avoidable deaths and injuries will it take for the vet to raise concerns with the authorities and let the donating public know what is going on?

I posted this request for apology and many questions about the incident on the Northfield Animal Haven Facebook page. The page is now offline. 

Aberdeen Voice will follow this story and report any and all updates.

Aberdeen Voice is sorry to hear that yet another animal has had an avoidable death at Northfield. If indeed vandals cut a fence, snuck in, and put the animal in a feed store – then we are confident the CCTV will have caught them, and we hope they will be brought to justice.

Should it be conceivable that the truth is still to be determined and information has been withheld or warped, possibly to cover a further incident of fatal animal overfeeding and/or other form of negligence, Aberdeen Voice is equally hopeful that the truth will come out. In the mean time, we are receiving yet more stories from people who have had business/animal welfare dealings with the Cable family.

Anyone with any further information is invited to please contact Aberdeen Voice in strictest confidence.

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Nov 142016
 

escale-france-protestors-by-s-reid-sept-16bBy Suz Reid.

Fur in Aberdeen is not a new thing, yet we became less aware that it was sold, even oblivious to it. Many, including myself, thought a ban on fur in the UK in the 1990s included imports. How very wrong we were.

In the last 5 years shops selling fur has increased dramatically.

Aberdeen has its own supply, quietly located in select elites shops of high end fashion.

Escale France run by Karine Franck is one shop who proudly displays her raccoon, fox, mink and rabbit fur products online and in store. Her designer is the top offender in cruelty fur Jean Paul Gaultier.

The first I saw of Escale France was on Facebook 6 months ago, sharing her new collection of fur items, thousands were up in arms.

 “Fur in our area not in my name,” stated some comments.

I was certainly grieved by this and felt something needed to be done. Did the owner know where her fur had come from? How it was made? I asked her face to face, her response was arrogant and unemotional

“Yes I have seen the videos, I know how they die,” she stated unmoved.

A group of like minded people against the shop developed SAY NO FUR to Escale France Aberdeen UK Branch and discussed showing Karine Franck that we would not tolerate fur in her shop. We asked her to listen to her customers, many had commented on her page, disgusted at her products.

“You have such lovely items, why must you spoil it by adding real fur?” remarked one customer.

 Our first three demonstration were duly noted by Karine and her male friend, who came out to give us his view which was quite frankly sickening:

“ I would skin my cat and wear it,  I’ve eaten dogs killed alive in China, what is the difference?”

Since our fourth awareness event, one of our members acted out a caged animal being electrocuted. It drew a crowd, bringing the debate on fur in fashion to the forefront. Karine Franck responded by putting more fur items on her display, allegedly claiming to a few customers it was faux fur. These claims dismissed on evidence from her online marketing and advertising.

‘Yell.com; Real Fur Retailers and suppliers in Aberdeen – Escale France’

When I contacted her by email she responded:

wearing fur is not morally worse that wearing leather or eating meat”

This I disagree with as the fur she is supplying is from China and Poland – both have little or no welfare standards. Animals are not killed straight away, often stunned before having their fur removed. In the rest of her email she deflected the subject, avoided direct questions and was not willing to continue in any discussion or debate.

Her justification for selling fur in fashion was:

“Some people watch the Peta videos showing the barbarism inflicted on some animals for the fur. Even if these are examples of bad ranches and slaughterhouses contravening codes of conduct, you can find some of them in leather and meat industries, and to compare with them, the fur production is small.”

I guess that makes it okay then! Even if the videos are real, so what…? Since when did we lose our compassion, become so disassociated with what is fashion acceptable?

We banned farming in fur for one main reason, it was deemed cruel to kill an animal just for its fur…and nothing else. When we investigated Aberdeen’s fur trade, I met a lovely lady Amanda who runs two fashion boutiques, one in Brighton and one in Aberdeen.

When she heard of our campaign she invited me to visit her shop. She was shocked that the public in Aberdeen would allow real fur when there are so many wonderful faux alternatives. Many of these faux items where in her store ‘Sirene’ in Union Street.

“It is a cruel method for a fur trim, why would you stock that when you have stunning traceable faux alternatives”

If Sirene boutique can select faux free and still satisfy her customers, why can’t Escale France?

This is just the beginning with all shops and stalls in Aberdeen/shire being added to a list and working with Animal Concern, Respect for Animals, Craft in future campaigns. If you don’t know what it’s all about please visit the above groups, who have investigated it at length, see what the barbaric trade is all about.

For forthcoming events in Aberdeen email us at saynofur@gmail.com.We have been collecting paper petitions and have an online petition. Please sign.

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Oct 212016
 

Suzanne Kelly continues her series on Northfield Animal Haven in New Pitsligo, this time concentrating on contradictory statements made by owner Kelly Cable on NAH’s funding, her benefit fraud conviction, and ultimately and most importantly this article looks at animal welfare concerns.

A mission statement, some sample threats, and advice.

Northfield Animal Haven SignThe purpose of this series of Aberdeen Voice articles was to examine the nature of the Northfield Animal Sanctuary operation, based on people approaching AV with concerns.

Looking at the NAH pages this past year and a half, the operation is unlike any animal welfare organisation I have encountered anywhere else in the UK or the USA.

I have volunteered and donated money, worked on farms, attended lectures on animal welfare, and at present make regular donations to 10 animal charities in the UK.

I mention this as Cable and some of her friends have attempted to link my investigations with my support for other bona fide animal welfare organisations. I am not salaried by any of the human, environmental or animal charities I support, and my investigations are based on the evidence brought to me from a wide range of people.

Collating the host of contradictory statements Kelly Cable made in funding appeals and on social media has been arduous. No doubt this piece will result in Cable and her supporters launching further social media attacks on me. There is no doubt though that the evidence presented in this piece is fact, carefully checked, fully documented. Some of the most damning material about the goings-on at NAH comes from Kelly Cable’s own posts and funding appeals and those made by her friends.

The word ‘attack’ was not used lightly. Many sources have insisted on remaining anonymous fearing reprisals, saying they received threats of physical harm. Threats involving guns and shooting were ‘jokingly’ made against me by Cable’s father Eric [1]. This month a woman named Carrie Anne Greig, posted:

Carrie Anne Greig Honest to fucking god. doesn’t she have a mute button or something?! She’s an absolute idiot, going on about morals and shit, how is it morally right to time after time slander and Harass someone when she has absolutely no idea? She’s never been to your place, never seen the animals, piss all. Someone needs to put her down with that AK47 she was on about.” [2]
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009008791129&fref=ts

Aside from the deceptions and animal welfare problems, I have never heard of an animal sanctuary making posts about shooting journalists. Joking or not, the threat of violence against anyone always carries the trace of intimidation. Do honest organisations need to stoop to such tactics when they are investigated?

As to the many contradictory statements Kelly Cable makes – please do contact her to see which statement she made is true and which is false. And please – if you have any doubt as to the credibility, honesty and standards of any charity: do not give it money.

Fact Recap:

  • That Kelly Cable is a convicted benefit fraudster [3] – this calls her honesty into question;
  • That Kelly Cable denied signing for a substantial loan [4] – again her honesty was thrown in doubt;
  • That signs and funding appeals stating ‘all farm animals are rescued are misleading [5]. There seem to be two Northfields – one that keeps some animals as rescues – while breeding for sale from these [6.1-3], and one that sells animals at Thainstone Market and privately where slaughter is the almost inevitable outcome [7]This schism is condemned by many animal welfare professionals including John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line [8].
  • When cornered on this issue, Kelly has made posts along the lines of ‘everyone’ knows that she operates a working farm and that the reason she uses pictures of animals in her appeal such as sheep and cattle that are not to be rescued is ‘people have asked to see all the animals’ [9]. Donors Aberdeen Voice had contact with were completely in the dark on the point, and would never have donated to money to an institution that breeds from its rescue for sales, and raises farm animals for commercial purposes.
  • That Cable used, without any contact or permission, images of animals she had nothing to do with for fundraising purposes – this calls transparency and honesty into question [10].
  • That Cable has claimed to different witnesses to have disabilities and illnesses [11.1-11.4]; she has told several people these illnesses lead her to use cannabis on the farm and that alcohol and drug use by others is tolerated by her at Northfield around the 170 animals she says she cares for single-handedly. This clearly poses threats to animal welfare – and that has led to serious consequences as this article will demonstrate. This drug use should also be of serious concern to anyone using her animal assisted therapy programme.
  • There are allegations of cannabis sales which the authorities are aware of [12]. (As an aside, cannabis can be a very therapeutic medical boon to some. The appropriateness of seeking public donations while using/selling cannabis on a farm by a disabled woman who purports to single-handedly care for over 170 animals where neglect and deaths have occurred should raise red flags to animal welfare authorities and those concerned with public safety).

This all adds up to irresponsibility fiscally, operationally, and safety wise on a worrying scale.

This piece will use material collected as part of this investigation to show conclusively:

  • That animal welfare is often compromised leading to animal deaths, injury, suffering and exploitation
  • That the fundraising appeals launched by Cable and her supporters contains misleading stories – the implication is that there may well be an attempt to gain donations by using less than honest prose
  • That fundraising appeals and social media posts by Cable and her friends contain many contradictions as to the nature of the operations, what NAH’s funding mechanisms are, what type of animals are actually rescued or sold, and whether or not animals will be put to sleep – this obfuscation makes it difficult to get to the truth: is that the intention, or is Kelly Cable perhaps so confused and unwell she cannot recall what she is telling people from one day to the next – if there is confusion, then are the 170 animals best looked after by her
  • That Kelly has made and continues to make false assertions as to Police Scotland or legal entities having contacted and warned Aberdeen Voice about these articles; no such contact has ever happened – the implication is that lies are being used to attempt to discredit the facts as presented in Aberdeen Voice.

The most important things though are the welfare of people using her animal assisted therapy, the fact that people have been defrauded out of thousands of pounds (both in loans made and not repaid and those who believe their donations save farm animals ensuring animal welfare) and top of these concerns is the welfare of these 170 animals.

Cable and Finances:

While constantly pleading poverty, Kelly keeps buying and adopting more animals – clearly by her own admission, more animals than she can safely manage (she, her father and 17 horses were injured while she and her father tried to transport them [13], and it is claimed she lives in substandard housing as she has so little money).

With one breath she will write that no animal will be put to sleep [14.1]; then she launches fundraising appeals threatening to have animals killed (not adopted by other area shelters) if she doesn’t get money [14.2-4]. In one social media post she will talk about her ‘babies’ and in other posts we find instances that these ‘babies’ have been improperly fed, transported, sold, injured – and died in questionable circumstances.

She and her supporters would have us believe she is a veritable Mother Teresa of animal welfare, denying herself basic comforts and although disabled, she cares for over 170 animals. In the course of the investigation a different picture emerges.

We have a woman who has two convictions for benefit fraud, who has borrowed money from people without ever repaying it, including £5,000 from her then partner’s parents and grandparents – claiming that her signature on the loan agreement was a forgery.

This claim was debunked by a handwriting analyst as part of court proceedings.

We have a woman who went on the internet, copied photos of animals that had absolutely nothing to do with her or NAH, and used the images saying that she needed funds to save the animals pictured. Cable sells animals while asking for money for saving other animals; it is often unclear from her advertising (signs, online fundraising appeals) what animals are actually to be saved or sold for slaughter; she recently posted a picture of a sheep and said it was the first sheep ever to be adopted in the sanctuary.

She’s used photos of sheep and depicts them on older material asking for funds to save them – she sells them for meat, and disowns any responsibility for what happens to animals she sold. Members of the Cable family have made threats against me and others.

Kelly has told people, including her former social media administrator Fiona Manclark that she uses cannabis for her disability, telling some people she has fibromyalgia. Other witnesses, understandably keen to remain anonymous, have told Aberdeen Voice that cannabis is used by Kelly and others while at the farm – and is sold from the farm as well.

In summary, this is not your typical animal rescue, and anyone wishing to donate money to help animals should be aware of these documented facts. Please read the reference document accompanying this article for proof of assertions made.

In a perfect world, Cable would ensure that all animals are properly cared for – in her own words as will be shown this is not the case.

Kelly once posted on social media that ‘everyone’ knows how she operates. Hopefully after this series of articles that will be true.

99 Problems:

As described in previous articles, visitors to her farm are greeted with a sign depicting animals of all sorts, with the words ‘rescue rehabilitate retire rehome for all equine, farm and small animals. This sign is illustrated with images of a pig, fowl, poultry, sheep and cattle. In effect, visitors have been misled before they even get out of their car:

Kelly Cable does not rescue all the animals she has at the farm. The cuddly sheep she has used in fundraising appeals are sold, slaughter being the likely outcome of their visit to Thainstone Market. There is not a single reputable, above-board animal rescue organisation in Scotland Aberdeen Voice can find that claims to save ‘all farm animals’ while raising some commercially.

It is not only the fate of the animals that Kelly sends to slaughter that is at stake. Chicks less than two weeks old have been sold and then re-sold to uncertain fates.

All animals eventually die, but at Northfield horses can die from cold weather [15], and ‘of a broken heart [16]’. A lamb was overfed – and died [17]. A sheep destined for sale was given a reprieve after it lambed – the hapless Kelly had no idea the lamb was expected [18]. Perhaps being disabled and running (according to some posts singlehandedly) a ‘working’ farm and a ‘haven’ is too much.

Aberdeen Voice is in receipt of some harrowing witness statements such as that of a dog killing poultry. A dog was hit after killing poultry; a bird with a broken leg went untreated. Unsurprisingly, the people who witnessed such acts are keen not to be identified. Kelly recently posted that she knows everyone who has contributed to these stories.

This in itself is a message of intimidation to those who have been threatened by members of her family, but it is an indictment of a ‘haven’ where numerous people have come forward with serious concerns. However, the most damning words about what happens to these ‘babies’ as Cable and her acolytes call the animals comes from Kelly herself.

Dead horses:

Horses die. They tend to do less of it however when given sufficient diet, care, shoeing and shelter from weather.

Many of the NAH rescue appeals follow a pattern. There is an urgent need for rescue funds or the animals will be turned into meat. This was true of the ‘Shetland 6’ ponies and for ‘Lucy’ and her foal ‘Sally’.

Now using such a manipulative tactic on a kind-hearted public is still manipulation, but it is understandable if coming from an organisation that only rescues animals. How is it possible for Northfield to sell animals for meat – pigs, lambs, poultry – but then pretend to be upset that these ponies that it (and often only it) can rescue if the public stump up funds urgently? If following how one farm can want to save its animals while sending its animals to slaughter is hard to fathom, the pretence that NAH is upset at the idea of an animal becoming food defies any kind of logic.

Here is the first part of the Go Fund Me appeal for ‘saving’ Lucy and ‘Sally’ https://www.gofundme.com/6u3mgs

The appeal for these two horses was 32 months ago; it raised £727. Perhaps a swift end at the abbatoir might have been kinder. After being rescued – Lucy died at Northfield – because it was cold and there was no room in the stable for the ancient horse. Kelly Cable wrote:

“Due to the stables situation I couldn’t take her in and it was very cold -6 that night. Please donate and help me rebuild our stables before we lose any more otherwise I will have no option but to close ….” [15]

What was done to get this horse somewhere where it would have been warm to keep it alive?

‘Babies?’ – Neglect, Sales and Abuse.

This is a post Kelly made of a lamb called Roddy which had collapsed from over eating and a joking comment ‘ha ha’ from Kelly – who’d allowed orphaned lambs to overeat – hardly good practice.

Figure [17] shows her post about an orphaned lamb which died from ‘bloat’ due to her lack of care; what did happen to the ewe I wonder? It seems as if for Cable and her devoted supporters it is sufficient to cuddle and groom cute animals; the serious business of animal welfare is glossed over or joked about, like the over-fed lamb Roddy. This does not happen at other rescues.

If money is always in such scare supply, a lamb dying of overfeeding, this overfed animal, and a diet for some pot-bellied pigs they took in (after NAH got them, one was put to sleep due to arthritis – diet to reduce the weight of these animals might have helped extend the animal’s life).

One sheep was given a reprieve from market as she lambed the night before being sent away. Not knowing your animals are pregnant is not brilliant animal husbandry. Kelly’s words explain this lamb was going to be sold to keep the sanctuary going. If killing one animal for money is how NAH avoids killing another animal then NAH is not a rescue.

There are many other instances of reasons to be concerned about what happens when the cameras aren’t taking pictures of cute animals being hugged. These instances, backed as they are by Kelly Cable’s own words in most instances, should be all the evidence any right-thinking person needs to know there are serious problems.

On Animals Being Putting Animals To Sleep if NAH doesn’t get money:

Perhaps she would never needlessly put animals to sleep. Perhaps the overweight potbellied pig she had put to sleep could not possibly have benefitted from a diet and painkillers. Obviously no one is calling the attendant veterinarians’ judgements into question; what is undeniable is that when Kelly is after money – she will use the threat of putting animals to sleep in her advertisements. [14.2-4]

In the Go Fund Me campaign at [14.2] Kelly ‘prays for a saviour’ so that she won’t have to close, implying it would be kinder to put the animals to sleep. Other animal shelters could easily help with taking animals she can’t manage to care for properly. The language lapses in and out of grammatical ambiguities such as:

“…I will have no choice [no choice to do what?] as it wouldn’t be right to allow them to suffer to the end [is she suggesting that neglect to the end was ever an option?] it would be much kinder to pts which is so unfair of them [who is them?] we have already lost one because of the weather [is she taking more animals than she can successfully care for and shelter? – it seems the case] and a few others are already losing weight [this is neglect – I do not know how else it can be seen]”

Is she just so emotionally over-wrought she can’t write straight; is she not well educated – or is the ambiguity deliberate so as she cannot be pinned down? Again she implies there is a time threat to her getting funds – a device she has used before – the message is clear despite the language – animals will be put to sleep by January unless she gets money.

So much for the claim she made on Facebook that:

“One thing I am sick of seeing is this thing about my animals getting pts, sorry wrong there, that will never happen xxxx”

If there is any doubt about this mechanic of saying there is a time deadline and animals are in danger of being put to sleep, there are other appeals she’s launched along those lines. One such was the ‘Shetland Six’ appeal. This is the time she used photos of a pony in Wales and another in the Shetlands which were in no danger. The Welsh Lluest Trust wrote to Aberdeen Voice:

“We can confirm that we have never had any contact with Northfield Animal Haven and have not given any permission for a photograph of one of our rescue ponies to be used. This pony was rescued by us in early 2014 and successfully moved into a loving loan home later on that year after several months of intensive treatment and rehabilitation at Lluest. We can confirm that the pony continues to live a happy and contented life in his new home and has never had any contact with Northfield Animal Haven.”

Potential donors were led to believe the animals were owned by a person who would not let any other animal sanctuary have them except NAH – and was going to kill them for meat if Kelly couldn’t get funds for them. The six eventually became four animals, their names and appearances changed from the photos initially used.

Again, please do refer to the reference document accompanying this article for screenshots, quotes and evidence. It is hoped that at the end of this article and its references, a clear portrait has emerged as to why it is important to animals and potential donors to scrutinize the goings on at Northfield Animal ‘Haven’.

The next article – probably the last in this series – will look at social media posts made by Kelly and her supporters on a wide range of issues, contradictory claims made, and attempts to discredit Aberdeen Voice and witnesses, and to make recommendations.

Note: Kelly Cable was invited by Aberdeen Voice to respond to the numerous issues raised above, and in the supporting document, and have her views included and accurately represented. Kelly did not respond directly, but posted on her facebook page:

“To Fred Wilkinson, Suzanne Kelly and The Aberdeen Voice.

“Up to this point all that has been printed by yourselves has been hearsay from others. Would you also like permission to speak with my doctor ?. If our vets choose to speak with you, that is up to them but I think you will be met with the same response as you got from the local shopkeeper when you called him last year.

“I stand by everything I have said with regards to what you have printed, I will not retract nor apologise for anything that has been said, just like everyone is meant to believe what has already been published by yourselves and your followers. Your followers and staff find it perfectly acceptable to contact people about me, slander the rescue and my name over various blogs and sites and to ridicule others because they disagree with you so I will not answer any questions for your forthcoming article as I refuse to continue to play your games.”
 – https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1655556561421288&id=100009008791129&pnref=story 

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Sep 232016
 

A George Street clothing store’s unrepentant sale of fox and racoon fur items has sparked off a petition and a series of protests. The unrepentant retailer Escale France has not answered Aberdeen Voice’s request for comment on its choosing to sell items featuring the pelts of animals which would have suffered immensely in their brief, unnatural lives confined to cages before an eventual electrocution, drowning or bludgeoning to death.

As Escale France can neither find any words in defence of its position (if such is possible) or is unwilling to speak to the press, the press speaks to animal welfare groups, individuals, fashion experts – and children – as to what is wrong with the fur trade. By Suzanne Kelly

escale-france-protestors-by-s-reid-sept-16b

Protestors attended legal demonstrations on Thursday 15 and Saturday 18 September

Fur is making something of a comeback; a comeback among people who by default are lacking in compassion and empathy.

Horrific existences in small wire pens, torture, suffering and eventual terrifying deaths await fur bearing mammals that exist in the fur industry.

There is no excuse that their meat can be used to feed the hungry.

Depending on the animal, dozens of animas will be skinned (sometimes alive) to create a single garment. Escale France is not bothered.

Here are quotes from some of the protestors who attended legal demonstrations on Thursday 15 and Saturday 18 September (more demonstrations are planned).

Christine Arnold Solomon, fashion lecturer who is opposed to the use of animal fur, told Aberdeen Voice:

“Stella McCartney has built a whole designer empire built on not using any animal products in anything including perfume; she uses lots of beautiful faux furs and gets the same aesthetic.”

Fiona Melvin said:

“How the animals are raised; they grow up in a cage and the doors never open until it’s time for them to die.

“They are anally electrocuted when they are often still alive – they are shocked, terrorised beyond belief.”

Kairhys, a young man, said:

“It is murder. I have a dog, two rabbits, two rats, 3 cats… they all have feelings; they can get scared.”

The demonstrators had informed the police of their plans in advance; the police who attended were found to be very helpful by the protestors. Signs and  placards, chanted slogans and discussions with passers by took place.

Many people were shocked to find a store in Aberdeen selling real fur; one such piece for sale is a dead racoon’s pelt dyed a pink colour – which further begs the question as to why fake fur was not used – should any argument be  in the first place – a fake pink fur could have sufficed without the animal destruction.

A petition for those against this store’s use of fur can be found here:

Anyone wishing to join the peaceful protest group can leave a comment on this article, asking to join the closed Facebook group. A further protest is planned for Saturday 24 September at Escale France from noon until 3pm, close to John Lewis.

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Sep 232016
 

Aberdeen Voice can reveal that Fiona Manclark, former Facebook Page Administrator for Northfield Animal Haven made an accusation of cannabis use at the farm by the owner, and claims drink and other drug use by others took place there too. Cannabis might be a means to alleviate symptoms of serious illness – but is someone using it regularly able to safely look after 170+ animals on a working farm and animal sanctuary?

In the second article in a series concerning NAH, Suzanne Kelly explains her doubts, and looks at other claims made in Manclark’s remarkable letter to the court, written in response to Suzanne Kelly’s legal action to stop Manclark’s defamation of her. By Suzanne Kelly

cannabis-400832_1280After a drawn out court procedure, defamation action I instigated against Fiona Manclark resulted in my being awarded £10,000 plus costs.
Manclark had run out of road with regard to my lawsuit which sought damages and an apology for her defamation of me which spanned Twitter, Facebook and email. She had applied for legal aid and was denied (the process took months).

Legal aid is normally denied where the applicant either has sufficient funds to cover their costs or where the applicant does not have sound grounds for bringing or defending legal action.

Despite Fiona Manclark having numerous opportunities to issue an apology and remove the various social media slurs without having to pay any damages, she chose to contest the legal action. It took months before the offensive comments were deleted. Eventually her legal firm announced to the courts it would no longer be defending Manclark; no reason was supplied.

When a hearing was scheduled in mid August, Manclark chose not to appear or send a legal representative: she did however send the court a most remarkable letter. Two members of Aberdeen Voice attended the sheriff court to look at the letter, and a shorthand transcription was made of it. All Ms Manclark needed to do was to put forward her side of the argument to the court as the defendant in the defamation action. She went much, much farther.

“…if there is money for drugs, she should not be asking the public for handouts”

Manclark’s letter openly accuses Kelly Cable of using cannabis, and of permitting others living on the farm to drink, use cannabis and ‘to be addicted’ to prescription drugs.

Manclark talks about first meeting the owner of Northfield, Kelly Cable. Manclark visited the farm to buy a pet rabbit – as an aside, reputable animal charities do not breed or sell animals; Cable managed to bridge the gap between rescue, breeding for sale, and running a commercial farm all from the same premises; an ethical dilemma and one unique in the rescue sector in Scotland as far as I can determine.

Aberdeen Voice has asked NAH about selling pets. In response, Northfield Animal Haven owner Kelly Cable told Aberdeen Voice:

“We do not breed or sell rabbits we rehome them and accept a donation of the persons choosing. The only connection with that is that Ms Manclark rehomed a rabbit from us then sold it.

“….since Sept last year Ms Manclark has had nothing to do with Northfield Animal Haven.”

After Manclark and Cable talked, Manclark and her children visited the farm. The children ‘helped build up the farm’ and ‘put in fence posts’ (presumably they were properly supervised, given personal protective clothing, and a safety briefing).

It was then Manclark alleges Cable:

“also smoked cannabis, but that was for medical reasons.”

This would certainly be consistent with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia – one of an astonishing number of debilitating conditions a variety of sources, including Cable herself, claim she suffers from.

Kelly Cable responded:

“You state that a letter from Ms Manclark declares all of this but I had a private message conversation with ms Manclark from a few days ago where she states I was never mentioned in any letter…”

Fibromyalgia and cannabis:

Fibromyalgia is a serious illness – one with totally unpredictable symptoms and widely ranging levels of pain. Cannabis and cannabis/hemp oil derivatives seem to alleviate pain in some cases.

Some forms of cannabis oil (which do not contain the intoxicant thc) are legal in the UK; at present cannabis is still considered illegal. This is a situation that needs addressing, but in the context of NAH, allegedly, a Fibromyalgia sufferer is running a farm and using cannabis while caring for 170 animals.

Kelly Cable had this to say:

“My personal health is of no business to anyone but what I will say is just because your disabled doesnt mean you give up and lie in bed all day. I am on prescribed medication from my doctor so I cannot give you an answer as to whether cannabis is a useful treatment for my health as its not prescribed.”

NAH also seeks donations from the public because there is not enough money to support the rescues; sometimes it says animals may have to be put to sleep if funds aren’t donated. (NB the commercial arm of the farm sells animals at market all the while).

In this resect Northfield and Cable are again in an unprecedented situation in the animal welfare sector. A report has been made to the police and other relevant authorities, and other witnesses agree with Manclark’s assertion.

A fibromyalgia sufferer would in all likelihood find properly caring for 170 animals at a sanctuary/commercial farm even a more formidable task than a healthy adult would, yet it is claimed Kelly Cable runs the farm with little or even no help at times.

One occasion when her father helped resulted – by Kelly Cable’s own admission – in 17 horses being cut while they were to be transported from one field to another. Eric Cable was also injured in this incident. Inexplicably, Kelly Cable chose to link Aberdeen Voice to this worrying event– clearly with no foundation in reason or fact. In a rambling rant concerning a variety of allegations, Kelly Cable wrote:

“… I arranged alternative grazing for the animals here some of which should not even been attempted to load and moved and what happens my Dad who is 73 gets knocked over and trampled by horses that are so scared, so now I have 17 terrified horses all with cuts etc from trying to be loaded and they are now stressed and very anxious.

“I would suggest that anyone who has shared the articles from the Aberdeen voice or anyone who has jumped on the bandwagon and spouted this crap had better remove all information as Monday morning even if I have to sell my car to do it I will be going after everyone who has done damage to this sanctuary.

“I am also going to the national press and quite a few revelations will be disclosed to the press which can be backed up by various websites….”

Precisely how the horses were scared, who else was helping, whether the horses’ legs bandaged for shipping (as would be good practice) is unknown; NAH has been asked to explain.

Kelly Cable rsponded:

” I have already explained what happened there, if one horse gets spooked it will set off others in the fields, beside them, and in stables but if we had managed to raise funds for hay we wouldnt have had to move them but as our reputation was in tatters this did not happen so we had no choice but to move them a couple of miles away to grazing.”

The NFU Scotland was asked to comment on potential issues of cannabis use on a farm; the request was something of a first for them. They commented:

“Farmers, crofters and their staff are no different from other sectors of society and existing laws around the misuse of drugs would apply. That said, farming is a hazardous occupation and as an industry our record on health and safety is poor. 

“If we are to cut the number of deaths and serious injuries in farming, then anything that impairs someone’s judgement when working with equipment or dealing with animals or potentially places themselves and others at risk must be avoided at all costs.”

Let’s say for argument’s sake there is nothing at all wrong in terms of safety and risk with having THC in the bloodstream and being seriously ill while looking after 170 animals.

Let’s assume that a person with a number of debilitating medical conditions, who allegedly smokes cannabis, and her father were perfectly capable of transporting 17 horses. How then did Eric Cable get trampled, and how did 17 animals suffer cuts in the incident?

Is it somehow Aberdeen Voice’s or my fault considering Kelly Cable leads directly from describing the injuries to AV? One last bit of food for thought:

Northfield is also offering animal assisted therapy: would you be comfortable utilising their service?

Fiona Manclark’s letter continues to say that after the revelations regarding drug use, she decided to cut ties with Northfield, not wanting her children around drugs, and saying:

“…if there is money for drugs, she should not be asking the public for handouts…”

Manclark appears not to have shared her concerns with police or animal welfare organisations that Aberdeen Voice is aware of; we will publish her response to the question when it is received. It is as if her concern was limited to her own children and not other visitors or donors.

Dismissing Manclark’s claims, Kelly Cable said:

“Claims regarding cannabis first came about in ms [Suzanne] kellys nativity story last year and now ms manclark has used them as defence in a defamation case, as ms kelly had won I think that question has already been answered but it has been discussed with the police on the 3 seperate occasions I have had these claims made against me.”

Illness:

What was the relevance of Manclark’s illness to the court? Did it prevent her making an apology, prevent her submitting evidence to back up the hacking claim?

Evidence of the illness was asked for as part of the legal process. No evidence was supplied because in Manclark’s words:

“The reason I have no legal representation any more is that I was requested to get a report from the doctor regarding my health, …..I really didn’t want this dragging on any longer than necessary as this has been a contributing factor to my state of mind.”

For someone who did not want the action dragging on, she did her best to prolong it.

The power to end the legal action always rested with Fiona Manclark. She chose to seek legal aid when a simple apology and deletion of offending posts – without having to pay any damages – was still possible.

“So sue me” were her words on the matter early on, and later repeated to my lawyer. Apparently she only phoned his office to issue that challenge because she was having medical issues. However, only towards the conclusion of the defamation action is there a reference to illness. More can be found in a previous Aberdeen Voice article. 

Manclark’s slurs against me were seen by thousands. She remained defiant that she was telling the truth about me and had evidence – it never materialised. Her slurs have quite possibly stopped people coming to me with stories that I might have otherwise been able to research this past year. The longer her remarks remained visible on the internet, the more time they had to seep in and damage my reputation.

If I am somewhat unsympathetic to the idea that her undocumented illness claim should have been considered by the court, I hope that is understandable. The court’s position is ultimately the last word on the question of illness. It sided with me.

That Mystery Hacker:

Fiona Manclark says in her letter that she agreed to be a Facebook administrator for NAH on the back of the first visit to buy the rabbit.

She wrote:

“I agreed, and she gave me all her passwords and I gave her mine. (I do understand it was a stupid thing to do)”

Kelly Cable has since posted on Facebook that she had never had Manclark’s passwords. Aberdeen Voice has asked each of them to clarify this anomaly.

Kelly Cable told Aberdeen Voice:

“Ms manclark and her family helped out with the haven and Ms Manclark was made admin on my page, I gave my passwords so that she may access anything she needed, why would I need hers. I have emails confirming that I myself was removed as admin and the page was hacked and resulted in my original page being deleted.”

Around the time the legal action against Manclark started, a dialogue appeared on the Northfield site concerning an alleged hacking attack. The conversation involves Cable and Manclark – and at one point they named me as the possible hacker.

Manclark:  “My own fb was hacked too tho, so maybe it’s someone with a grudge against me. Which again makes me think of Suzanne. She was spitting feathers over me calling her an alkie”

Cable:  “Yeah very true. I have told the police about the hacking as well maybe they can find out who hacked it and have them done xx”

Hacking is considered a serious crime. If there had been a police report or investigation, it certainly did not result in any contact with me or Aberdeen Voice.

On the other hand, as reported in the first article in this series, Manclark refused to help me get the police to investigate the hacking crime.

If the police had investigated the hack, then I would have accepted there was a bona fide attack and stopped my lawsuit. I would also have expected the victim of a hack to remove material posted by a hacker; this took ages – during which time the hacker (so we are led to believe) posted refusals to retract, claimed they had evidence to back up the slurs, and told me to sue.

We are looking for a pro-NAH hacker with the ability to hack Fiona Manclark’s twitter, facebook and email over a period of six months, who had a particular desire to attack me. Anyone with any suspicions as to the identity of such a skilled hacker should please contact the police and/or Aberdeen Voice.

Amnesia?

Manclark initially told my solicitor she had no idea who I was; and yet she had an exchange with Cable concerning hacking, which mentions me.

On 13 October 2015 as part of an exchange about ‘hacking’ with Kelly Cable Manclark posted:

“Yes because I don’t want that bitch getting off with anything. And I was getting private mails from her until I blocked her. Still waiting to hear from her solicitor too J J J “

The two women had mentioned me by name by now, but perhaps it is some other person who they accuse of hacking them who had threatened legal action Manclark is referring to? Ms Manclark is at liberty to explain who else could be under discussion if not me. Perhaps amnesia is another illness Ms Manclark has, for on 20 November, she wrote to my lawyer to say she’d never heard of me:

“Message Received: Nov 20 2015, 02:04 PM
“Subject: Suzanne Kelly

“To whom.ot may concern, 

“I have just received a letter saying that I have been slanderous towards your client. I do not know your client and I have never heard of the voice.

“My social media was hacked, and due to a disagreement with Kelly Cable, I had only been admin of the page for 2 weeks. I had never posted as admin on the page. My hacking was reported, and I closed down both Facebook and Twitter as people were getting spam mail. I have since reopened other accounts.

“I have been in touch with Kelly Cable to ask if she knows of your client, and apparently the police have been contacted due to a dispute between your client and her. I have again reiterated to Kelly Cable that I do not want her to contact me again. 

“Again, I do not know your client, and I certainly would not get into a slanging match online for everyone to see. 

“I have absolutely nothing to do with Northfield Animal Haven, and haven’t for a long time, and I do not wish to be associated with them in anyway.”

Perhaps having to clarify how she knew me in October but didn’t know me in November was one of those things that made her uncomfortable with appearing in front of the court.

Truth and Consequences

I started this investigation after Aberdeen Voice published an innocuous press release with my byline calling for standards for animal rescues. I had heard of Northfield Animal Haven and its split personality when it comes to rescuing Animal A while selling Animal B at market, and its sans souci attitude about the future of the sold animal.

Kelly Cable responded:

“I have explained quite a few times now as to how we work here. Yes we have a flock of 26 ewes in size by no means a commercial flock we also occasionally buy a couple of bull calves and raise them. This is our income and also goes towards feed for the rescue animals. No rescue animals are ever bred from or sent to slaughter.

“Yes my sign says all farm animals so therefore if we take in a farm animal then it is a rescue, not an animal that has been purchased then claimed to be rescued. The animals that are here all live together interact with each other but you also get the welfare benefits of grazing these animals together, ie worms, ticks, flys etc these counteract with the other animals.

“With having farm animals we are regulated by animal health and seerad because we have rescue animals here they also have to be included in the forms for vet medicines, feed, nitrogen deposits on the ground.”

After a bit of research I published an article, and was soon inundated with emails suggesting further areas for investigation about the farm and the Cables.

I discovered Kelly has a conviction for benefit fraud. I discovered how she eventually got out of repaying a £5,000 loan, at one point claiming her signature was a forgery (a forensic handwriting expert soon put paid to the claim).

I soon found myself the target of abuse in varying forms from the Cables and their administrator Fiona Manclark across social media. A year long battle to get Manclark to apologise and remove her damaging remarks also resulted in my being awarded £10,000 plus costs – an expense wholly within Manclark’s power to have avoided.

Manclark and Cable claim they were hacked. Their discussions also mention me as being the potential hacker – all very odd, as Manclark informed my lawyer she had only heard of me when he wrote to her, which was after I sent her one personal message asking her to remove the remarks. If you believe her, then it must have been the hacker who responded to my request across twitter, facebook and email and who said ‘so sue me’.

I take Fibromyalgia very seriously, and I am involved in a recognised SCIO which buys cannabis oil for peole with documented medical evidence of serious illness such as Fibro – as long as they are an adult in financial hardship who has done their own research and has made the decision to use legal CBD oil in conjunction with their medical practitioner.

No one of the three people in this SCIO take any money; in fact it is costing me money to run, but it is an important service and I am happy to offer it.

In the next article I will explain why it is important for everyone to be free from abusive lies, and how defending my reputation is particularly important concerning investigative journalism – Would people be coming to me with leads? Would publishers buy my work? Would readers believe me?

Fiona Manclark tried to stop me. Using legal means, I have now stopped her.

But the real concern here is for the welfare of animals – 170 animals seems a huge amount for a woman who, according to a number of posts including at least one by Manclark, is doing it on her own. Kelly Cable often says she is in dire need of funds, sometimes hinting that animals may be put to sleep if she doesn’t’ get money.

By several accounts, there are funds enough for cannabis. Assuming she has Fibro and is able to manage her large menagerie, she must be nearly super human.

I’ve worked on farms. I know how long it takes to look after – properly feeding, exercising, grooming, cleaning stalls for even a dozen horses can be. I do not see how anyone with a serious illness can safely, effectively look after such a huge number of animals. By her own words, there has been an accident with 17 horses and her father.

The welfare of the animals is paramount – but protecting the consumer from fraudulent appeals for money is important too. This is why I am researching and writing about Northfield Animal Haven, and now that my law suit – the only legal action taking place between NAH, Cable, Manclark and I is concluded, I am delighted to pick up where my legal action against Manclark made me stop.

In her defence, Kelly Cable states:

“Many children and adults have visited our place before the flooding and they could interact with all animals, learn about their welfare, learn about how to raise them free ranged instead of caged or locked in sheds. At the end of the day everything here is about the animals and educating people along the way, with animals like sheep or cows that isnt a normal everday animal to meet and interact with

“We stick to numbers on both the farm and the rescue and that way if fundraising doesnt raise the funds or preferably the goods like hay, straw, feed etc, we know with our numbers every animal will be fed and cared for. No donations will ever be used for running costs like electric, phone, wages, etc.

“Between the animals care and care of the ground, and their housing is all that donations are used for and always will be.

“there is no fraud or illegal conduct taken place at Northfield Animal Haven.”

If doubts remain about the truth of my claims, I hope my next two and final articles (unless further information comes to light) on NAH will convince readers beyond any doubt.

Footnote: Aberdeen Voice is grateful to Kelly Cable for her timely response to issues raised in this article. Fiona Manclark was also contacted and invited to comment. We still await her response.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Sep 202016
 

One of my more volatile investigations published in Aberdeen Voice concerns Northfield Animal Haven. One of its former Facebook page administrators, Fiona Manclark, persistently posted defamatory comments about me across social media sites – and later claimed a hacker had got into her Twitter, Facebook and email accounts and made the remarks, not her.

Refusing to delete these comments – that I was an ‘alkie’ and a liar’ – and failing to submit any evidence to back these slanderous claims, Fiona Manclark dared me on several occasions to sue her. So eventually I did. And by default, I’ve prevailed. I won’t get the requested apology as it was a default situation. But the court has awarded damages to me.

Don’t feel too sorry for her: she was given numerous chances to delete the material and to apologise, all of which she refused to do over the months – but the upshot is she is to pay me £10,000 plus costs (currently being determined).

Here’s how things built up, what happened, and in a series of articles, I will lay bare the story behind the legal action, expose more concerns about NAH, and share my thoughts at having to stop writing about NAH or Manclark while the legal action was live. By Suzanne Kelly.

Northfield Sheep to mart fb screenshotFiona Manclark was an administrator for Northfield Animal Haven’s Facebook page. I was investigating NAH; this came about after a relatively innocuous article, ‘Reputable Animal Charities Initiative’ was published in early June 2015,

The piece stemmed from a press release; the Press & Journal ran the same story.

It was merely a call for standards in the animal rescue/welfare sector – a charity sector in which more than a few scams take place.

By this time, I had heard distant rumblings about Northfield Animal Haven and the family operating it.

The response to the article from Fiona Manclark’s email was this:

“I find it disgusting and absolutely shocking at how biased this paper is. I seen the remarks that your so called journalist made on one of the animal sanctuary sites, and it was disgusting. The woman that runs the sanctuary that is so very obviously being spoken about here, works very hard and does it all herself.

“Your (so called) journalist was invited up on more than one occasion. But she never turned up at all. So how she has the audacity to speak about sanctuaries this way, without knowing the facts is not only slander, but is very very poor journalism. I can only assume that she couldn’t find the time to leave the brewdog beer for long enough.

“I really really hope that some of the sanctuaries get together and sue this paper.”

The AV Editor, acting as Moderator wrote:

“[This comment is being published in full, in spite of obvious and valid reasons why some content contravenes publication criteria, as it has been published in full on a public facebook page. Therefore it appears futile to edit – Moderator]”

I had been asking Northfield (NAH) questions by this point – but they had NOT been mentioned in the article.

It was Fiona’s bringing NAH into the context of the article that sparked off a small flood of people making contact with me.

People with past dealings with NAH or its owner Kelly Cable and/or her father Eric shared concerns about animal welfare, how funds are managed, what goes on at the farm, Cable’s past conviction for benefit fraud, and other allegations. Almost all of the concerns came from people who were fearful of the Cables discovering the source’s identity.

Considering that Eric Cable chose to mention an AK47 on a Facebook post concerning my articles, I fully understand the fear that some of my sources have.

People chose to come to me with their evidence and anecdotes; if they had been convinced by the repetitive assertions I was a liar and an alcoholic, they well might have gone to other writers instead, or not come forward at all. Manclark/the alleged hacker – if unchallenged — would have damaged my reputation personally and professionally; this will be touched on in a future piece. I asked Manclark numerous times to take down her derogatory remarks. She – or this alleged hacker – refused.

What were some of the issues I found? Northfield Animal Haven claimed to ‘rescue all farm animals’ – it had for instance a sign showing a variety of farm animals, which declared it rescued all farm animals. In reality, while one arm of this family business purports to rescue farm animals; the other arm sells farm animals at market.

Some animal lovers were horrified when they discovered they were supporting a person who was involved in rescue but who was also involved in sending animals to market – which more often than not can mean sending them to slaughter.

Kelly Cable responded along the lines that ‘everyone’ knows that she also operates a ‘working farm’ and it is not her concern what happens to animals she sells (more on these issues in further articles in this series).

As documented in a previous Aberdeen Voice article, Kelly Cable responded:

“all of our supporters are aware of what we do with our sheep”

When questioned in detail about whether or not the sold animals are killed she replied:

“I don’t send them [sheep] for slaughter the people who buy them after me probably do but I don’t personally so what I stated was fact….”

Northfield was, shall we say, creative with fundraising. Using photos of Shetland ponies and emaciated cows, NAH claimed to need funds for urgent rescue and launched online fundraising appeals. When these images were put into Google search by Aberdeen Voice and other concerned parties, it emerged either the ponies depicted were happily homed and had no connection to Northfield – or in the case of the cows – were in… America.

Cable claimed to be rescuing them:

“They dumped them in a shed I’ve been feeding them since Friday”

“Thank you if I can raise about a £1000 at least that will get them here food for a few weeks and vet care”

The truth was just a bit different back in 2011 when Lycospca (based in Lycoming County, USA) wrote about the same animals:

“Thank goodness someone saw these poor animals and called us to check up on them. The owner had grain in the barn and they were ordered to get a round bale.”

If the casual observer had read Kelly’s messages about the cows, they’d have believed she had just seen them, and that they had little time in which to raise funds. As for the shetland ponies, owners of two of these were less than pleased to find their photos had been used for NAH fundraising without their permission.

There will be further analysis and revelations in the next articles.

Manclark’s comments – a timeline:

If Fiona Manclark had been hacked, the hack went on for six months. She would also appear not to have taken down any of the offensive comments the alleged hacker made over the months until late December when my legal action against her attempted smear on me was in progress.

The alleged hacker managed to get her Facebook, Twitter and email accounts and use them to communicate with people including her friends – none of which picked up on the claim Manclark made that she didn’t know me or AV, or that they weren’t speaking to Manclark but to a hacker.

Date Poster/Author Social Media/publication Comment
02/06/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Aberdeen Voice – comments on article ‘Reputable Animal Charities Initiative’ – nb this story came as a press release and was also published by the Press & Journal. I find it disgusting and absolutely shocking at how biased this paper is. I seen the remarks that your so called journalist made on one of the animal sanctuary sites, and it was disgusting. The woman that runs the sanctuary that is so very obviously being spoken about here, works very hard and does it all herself. Your (so called) journalist was invited up on more than one occasion. But she never turned up at all. So how she has the audacity to speak about sanctuaries this way, without knowing the facts is not only slander, but is very very poor journalism. I can only assume that she couldn’t find the time to leave the brewdog beer for long enough.
I really really hope that some of the sanctuaries get together and sue this paper.** [This comment is being published in full, in spite of obvious and valid reasons why some content contravenes publication criteria, as it has been published in full on a public facebook page. Therefore it appears futile to edit – Moderator]
18/08/15 Suzanne Kelly Twitter Mummyalfi (Manclark’s Twitter account name) Further to my earlier tweet, I consider calling me a liar and an alcoholic to be libel. Remove your posts, apologise
04/09/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Twitter SueKelly10 (Suzanne Kelly’s Twitter account name) So sue me. You are a liar and you are an alkie, so no, I will not apologise for telling people the truth.
05/09/15 (approx) Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Facebook, Northfield Animal Haven home page (Posting as Northfield Animal Haven) Fiona here. Suzanne Kelly who “writes” for the voice. She’s Sue Kelly on Twitter and is the biggest cretin I have ever come across. She is a liar, a keyboard warrior and an alkie. Dangerous combination. And for the record, it’s me (Fiona) that is saying all of this. Not on behalf of Northfield Animal Haven, or Kelly, just on what I’ve had to witness from this thing.
08/09/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Aberdeen Voice – comments on article ‘Animal Shelter Operator Is A Smooth Operator Suzanne, please do take me to court. Your reputation means everything to you?
You haven’t even been to visit Kelly even though you have been invited many times.
And you have been seen coming out (or should I say falling out) of brewdog on many occasions. So until you remove your rubbish about Kelly, I will not be removing my truths about you.
08/09/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Aberdeen Voice – comments on article ‘Animal Shelter Operator Is A Smooth Operator I can’t wait to hear from your solicitor. You have been seen on many occasions falling out of brewdog, so that’s not libel, that’s the truth.
19/12/15 Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Facebook, Suzanne Kelly’s home page (Fiona or the alleged hacker) sees a comment from a man she knows on my page and comments:
“… please tell me you don’t know this ahem person”
22/12/15 (approx Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) Voice message left for my solicitor Fiona Manclark (? hacker?) tells us to ‘go ahead and sue’ – Manclark later admits to making this call, but claims she was ill/stressed at the time.

 

Aberdeen Voice has also seen Facebook discussions between Ms Manclark and others in which Manclark mentions the threat of legal action from me, and complains I sent her a profusion of private messages.

The truth is that I sent one message to her, asking her to remove offensive comments; an Aberdeen Voice editor was on copy of the message. Fiona Manclark (or this mysterious hacker) replied refusing to retract the comments. None of the people in these discussions suspected that they were communicating with a hacker; none question Manclark’s assertion to the court that she’d only heard of me/Aberdeen Voice after hearing from my lawyer.

When someone is hacked, there is every chance that their email/social media provider will at the very least send a message of concern – login from an unusual site, unusual activity on the account, etc.

When items sent or posted from a hacker haven’t been deleted, then a hacking victim would see them in their outbox, on their home page, in their twitter feed, etc. – and know something was amiss, delete them and report a suspected hack. None of this seems to fit the pattern we are asked by Manclark to believe.

The hack allegedly went on from June through December – apparently without Manclark realising it was taking place. Sometimes the alleged hacker was able to respond very quickly (see Aberdeen Voice comments for instance).

Ms Manclark recently claimed to the court that she gave all of her passwords to Kelly Cable at Northfield Animal Haven: if there were a hack, and if the police had been asked to investigate by Manclark, I wonder where the trail would have led – to some mysterious hacker, or a computer closer to home?

Then again, should we take Manclark’s word there was a hacker over this period of time using three of her accounts?

Was there a mysterious hacker with a vendetta against me with regard to Northfield that took place for months – or was this all the work of Fiona Manclark?

Fiona Manclark refused my lawyer’s first request to remove the posts from social media and apologise publically for them. When she refused, we started the legal action against her. After months of waiting to see if she would get legal aid to fight the case, legal aid was denied, and a court date was set.

Manclark wrote a letter to the court rather than appearing before it in August. In her letter she sticks to the claim she had been hacked. She claims it was reported to the police, but she never supplied evidence to back this up such as a police incident number.

She refused to help me have the police investigate the hacking claim. I was a third party victim of the hack she claims to have suffered.

The police could have investigated it – only if Manclark had been willing to co-operate. My lawyer wanted her to go to the police with me to report it, and she refused on the grounds ‘she didn’t know me’. Well, the person using her accounts certainly knew me well enough – to respond by blocking me.

It would appear from the legal decision in my favour the courts might have at the very least had their doubts as to her claims.

Manclark had quite a bit to say in her written submission to the court, which Aberdeen Voice editors have now seen. This will be the subject of the next article.

It is my understanding now that the court’s decision is absolute. It is time for Ms Manclark – or the mysterious hacker – to think about making restitution to me. My thoughts on the defamation, the legal process, and Ms Manclark’s arguments (such as they are) will be one of the articles in this series.

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Sep 202016
 

Suzanne Kelly presents some of the sources and evidence in support of her articles regarding Northfield Animal Haven.

[1]  Eric Cable’s AK 47 ‘joke’ made on Facebook

eric-cable-ak47

[2] Carrie Anne Greig: ‘someone needs to put her down with that AK47 she was on about’ https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009008791129&fref=ts

carrie-anne-ak47

[3] Kelly Cable’s benefit fraud and financial fraud exposed.  From Scottish Courts email to S Kelly September 2015:

“Between 14 August 2007 and 1 March 2008 both dates inclusive all at Aberdeenshire Council Benefit Section and Job Centre Plus or elsewhere Paul Cable did, with a view to obtaining any benefit or other payment or advantage under the relevant social security legislation as defined in section 121DA of the aftermentioned Act, knowingly make to officials of Aberdeenshire Council Benefit Section and Job Centre Plus a false statement or representation, namely on Aberdeenshire Council Benefit forms and Job Centres Income Support forms you represented that you had no partner staying with you, the truth being that you did have a partner staying with you who had been staying with you as your partner since 01 October 2003 and you did thereby obtain payment of Council Tax Benefit and Income Support of £6700 in cumulo to which you were not entitled; Contrary to the Social Security Administration Act 1992 Section 111A(1)(a)

“Paul was sentence to a Community Service Order whereby he had to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work.”

(Anyone who wishes to check the accuracy of this statement should contact the Scottish Courts)

“1)      Between 28 January 2008 and 24 August 2008 at RCD Car Smart in Turriff, Aberdeenshire or elsewhere Kelly Cable along with another did form a fraudulent scheme to allow you to continue claiming social security benefits to which you would otherwise no longer have been entitled and in pursuance of said scheme you did falsify records pertaining to the employment of you Kelly Cable by another at RCD Car Smart aforesaid whereby only 17.5 hours of work a week by you Kelly Cable was recorded with declared wages of only £97.13 per week, when in fact you Kelly Cable were working more hours per week than this and another was paying you Kelly Cable approximately £225 per week, the balance between the declared wages of £97.13 and the actual wages of approximately £225 being met by additional payments by cash or cheque and you Kelly Cable did thereby receive Housing Benefit of £1000.00 and Council Tax Benefit of £200.00 to which you were not entitled.”

“2)      Between 29 May 2006 and 15 March 2009 at 25 Knockie Road, Turriff, Aberdeenshire and at Aberdeenshire Council Benefits Section and elsewhere you Kelly Cable did, with a view to obtaining benefit or other payment or advantage under the relevant social security legislation as defined in Section 121DA of the aftermentioned Act, knowingly make to officials of Aberdeenshire Council Benefit Section false statements and representations, namely on benefit forms dated 08 November 2006, 06 January 2008, 6 February 2008, 08 August 2008 and 15 march 2009 that having read and understood the instructions in the aftermentioned benefit forms you had correctly reported any facts which could affect the amount of your benefit, the truth being that you did not disclose that you had been working at Pipeline Technique, Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire between 16 May 2006 and 13 October 2006; you did not disclose that you had been working at RSD Supplies, Poyernook Road, Aberdeen since 09 October 2006; you did not disclose your full earnings and hours that you worked at RCD Car Smart, Turriff, Aberdeenshire and additionally you did not disclose that you had not been staying at the address at 25 Knockie Road since approximately 01 June 2009 and you did thereby obtain Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit of £2000 and £400 respectively to which you were not entitled; CONTRARY to the Social Security Administration Act 1992 Section 111A(1)(a).”

[4] Kelly Cable signs for loan with her then partner from his parents and their parents; she claims subsequently she never signed for the loan – a handwriting expert disproves her claim.

[4.1] proof Cable claimed to lawyers her signature on the loan agreement was not hers but a forgery.

cable-claim-no-forgery

[4.2]  A handwriting expert proves conclusively Kelly did sign for the loan – so her claim her signature was a forgery was a lie.

cable-handwriting-expert

cable-handwriting-expert2

[5] Northfield’s sign – there is no indication on here that the type of animals pictured are sold for slaughter, just that they are rescued, rehomed, etc.  Kelly subsequently claimed ‘everyone’ knew she also sold animals.  In October 2016 she claimed to add her first ever sheep (called Joffrey) to the animals she decided not to sell but to rescue.  That is quite a few years between erecting a sign picturing a sheep and finally rescuing one.

nah-sign

[6.1] Kelly Cable on the subject of breeding animals.

cable-breeding-1

[6.2] In the screenshot above, Kelly says birds are only available for people to buy when over 22 weeks.  Apparently the birds are ‘broody’ – but rather than upset them, she prefers to let the eggs hatch; coincidentally having some animals she can turn a profit on – from her rescues.

Here are birds from Northfield at only 2 weeks old in someone’s home from the looks of it, not a farm.  The person who had these Northfield chicks sold them – their current welfare is unknown.

A simple solution for those not wanting to breed chickens they have rescued – use the eggs before they hatch.

nah-sale-of-animals-1nah-sale-of-animals-2

[6.3] Fiona Manclark represented in her letter to Aberdeen Sheriff Court that she bought a rabbit from NAH.  The letter was viewed by Suzanne Kelly and Fred Wilkinson.  Suzanne Kelly used shorthand to transcribe the letter.

“I went to Northfield Animal Haven to buy my son a rabbit for his birthday.”

[6.4] Manclark claims she bought rabbits from NAH.  Here is what Manclark posted when selling them. If the rabbit was brought to NAH after its ear had been bitten off, that is one thing.  If not, and the rabbits were bred at NAH:  Is this adequate care that such a situation took place?  What do the people who say Kelly Cable is brilliant with animals, loves them, and everything is fine at NAH say to this rabbit?  Either way, NAH is giving out animals that are later passed around for sale.  Aberdeen Voice would like to know what the fate of this poor rabbit is.  This and the chick story alone proves that far from adopting ethical practices found at most animal shelters, ‘rescued’ animals are bred, the offspring meet uncertain fates. Manclark says Kelly does this for money; she admits to selling birds at 22 weeks. This is breeding from rescue for profit. It is unethical to create more unwanted animals that will meet uncertain ends to raise money, even if it is allegedly somehow saving other animals from the fate the offspring are condemned to.

manclark-sale

Note: It is a fact that dogfighting takes place in Aberdeenshire. The criminals involved in this activity are always on the lookout for pets going cheaply or for free.  Please do not give / sell an animal to a home you have not visited – if you must get rid of a pet at all.  Getting tired of your pet is no excuse.

[7]  Thainstone.  Kelly Cable may be in the business of saving ‘all farm animals’ per NAH’s sign.  Here is a listing from Thainstone Market where animals are bought and sold for breeding (often for meat) or sold directly for meat.  This causes no ethical issue for Cable, except when she wants to save Shetland ponies on occasion from the very same fate that she condemns other animals to. Donors were shocked when they learned this side of the business from Aberdeen Voice, despite Cable’s claim ‘everyone knows’ she sells animals – this is not featured in her appeals or her signs. This is only one listing; there are many more.

nah-thainstone

[8] comments from John F Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line about Northfield:

“A sanctuary simply should not be breeding or slaughtering any animals! If she [Cable] wants to harvest eggs for personal use or to sell she can do that by rescuing end of lay battery hens, most of which make a good recovery and become free range egg producers for several years.”

“Regretfully the time is long overdue when all animal sanctuaries and rescue centres need to be licensed, inspected by an independent authority and maintained to high minimum standards. A true animal sanctuary does not send any animals to slaughter, does not breed animals and does its best to find good homes for life for the animals it rescues. Numerous times a year we hear of “sanctuaries” which are really no more than well-meaning animal hoarders where one or two people, without the necessary space, financial resources or expertise take in numerous cats and/or dogs and sometimes farm animals and horses . Before long they discover they cannot pay for vets’ bills or even for food for the animals. The animals end up ill, emaciated and infested with worms, ticks, fleas and other parasites. Sometimes by the time the authorities realise there is a problem all they find are dead and dying animals.  If you are requested to donate to an animal sanctuary there are several questions you should ask first. Is the sanctuary a registered charity? If the answer is yes double-check with the Charity Regulator. If the answer is no ask why not and how can they survive without the extra money charity status provides. Ask for copies of its constitution and most recent accounts. Find out what animals it has and how it rehomes them. Are the animals neutered and is the sanctuary registered with a local vet? If you re-home an animal from a rescue centre expect to pay a realistic fee to cover veterinary costs such as neutering, vaccinations and micro-chipping. Do not agree to pay a rescue centre large sums of money for pedigree dogs or fashionable cross-breeds. Expect the rescue centre to home-check you to ensure your premises are suitable for the animal you are taking on. If they do not do a home check they are not doing their job properly. Do not confuse animal sanctuaries with commercial enterprises such as working farms with visitor facilities, petting zoos or commercial falconry centres.”    

[9] Kelly explains why the (misleading) imagery of sheep and cattle in fundraising appeals is done – when these animals are destined not to be rescued (in this screenshot NAH also says she would rather the Shetland ponies not be rescued than go to other shelters.  The other shelters would have taken the animals for no donations – Kelly was trying to raise £5000 for the Shetlands – two of which at least were other people’s animals in need of no rescue):

nah-no-other-shelter-ponies

[10] For details and images of the ‘Shetland 6’ fundraising appeal launched with images taken from websites without permission – of ponies needing no rescue, see this article.  No explanation was ever made of how the 6 became 4; but Kelly and her supporters have taken this article and decided to mock it, writing off the incident incorrectly as AV asserting incorrectly the ponies were fake.  It is clear she took in some Shetlands – whether she bought or rescued them, the owner of the 6 never came forward to explain why they would only let Kelly have them, and why they were going to be killed

https://aberdeenvoice.com/2015/09/animal-rescues-appeals-are-for-other-peoples-animals/

[11.1] AV is told that Kelly Cable’s health is none of our business.  However, she regularly makes claims on social media about her health issues; in this shot she references a brain tumour, an illness mentioned in other places.

cable-health-no-av-business

[11.2] her friend references Cable’s health on an internet fundraising appeal Kelly was well aware of.  This extract also leads potential benefactors to believe they are giving money to a person who helps all animals, not a person who saves some animals and sends others to slaughter. Note as well the passage about an animal never being put to sleep; Kelly waivers back and forth on this point in her own posts.  If Kelly is someone with a disability, a brain tumour, cervical issues (mentioned in a letter Kelly wrote) and is using cannabis for her symptoms, perhaps she ought to get her own living conditions in order so as to be able to better singlehandedly care for the 170 animals.

Lisa Marie Mathieson you caring page re NAH  https://www.youcaring.com/pet-expenses/support-animal-rescue-in-helping-animals-have-a-safe-hom

Nb – Kelly was aware of this page and commented on it.

“Kelly and her family could see there was so many unwanted neglected animals out there since opening they have saved over 600 animals that probably would have ended up being pts or worse, most of them are in forever loving homes and the rest which is over 170 are still in the sanctuary, no animal is ever pts unless the vets says so, everything is tried to help the animals. The only reason they would turn an animal away is if they dont have the funds to care for the animal once it arrives.  If All of that isnt enough this has been done by one human being with very little financial help.  Now my friend needs your help as I can see just how important it is to have a safe place for the animals where they can live out there lives without a care in the world and thats exactly what they get at the sanctuary but without money, one person cannot do anymore than she already has.  I would also like to point out that Kelly is disabled herself but no matter what the animals are cared for, the house she bought isnt habitable but rather than do her house so that she can be warm everything is spent on the animals, so Im asking if everyone could give £5 this goal would be reached, funds for the sanctuary are in the bank and Kelly then can use her own money to get her house warm before winter as all donations and kellys own income goes to the sanctuary.”  

[11.3]

In a further extract from Fiona Manclark’s letter to the Aberdeen court in answer to my lawsuit against her for defamation (a legal action I prevailed in), Manclark wrote:

“Living on the farm [NAH]was her brother and his girlfriend… was there most days, as was her daughter.  Each of these people were admins on the site.   Later that day she told me that her brother’s girlfriend was heavily into drink and that she was addicted to prescription drugs and (I had said nothing) but had made up my mind to avoid her at all costs.  Later that day just before I was leaving, the owner [said] that she also smoked cannabis, but that was for medical reasons…”

Aberdeen Voice has had contact with one of the girlfriends – who is adamant that it was not her – but the Cable family who routinely used drugs and alcohol at the farm.

[11.4]  One of my sources told me that Kelly once said her many health problems included fibromyalgia; cannabis is commonly used for this.  In this blog, Kelly adds other disabilities to her list:

“  I run my sanctuary with the help of a few volunteers but I am disabled with a few conditions ie spondilitis, emphasimia [sic] and others [very sick] but regardless of that every day I will be there to help the animals that need it.”
– 
Kelly Cable blog http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:yTRPmmgGRdoJ:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/downside-animal-rescue-kelly-cable+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

[12.1]  Cannabis use is not in itself a problem.  The problem is when animals are clearly suffering, when donations are being sought by people buying and selling cannabis, and when someone involved in this is also doing ‘animal assisted therapy.’  Turning again to  Fiona Manclark’s letter to the courts (above) and additional sources who say that cannabis is regularly used and sold from NAH.

[13]  While attempting to move 17 equines, the horses were all cut, Eric Cable injured, and it was… Aberdeen Voice’s fault.  When I worked with horses, moving them in small numbers, after they had their legs and tails bandaged, ensuring safety of the people involved (always 2 or more) and the horses was paramount.  Kelly Cable refuses to explain who was there, how the horses were being loaded.

cable-17-horses

[14.1] Kelly Cable posts on social media no animals will be put to sleep; a noble sentiment but one she herself contradicts when she appeals for money [14.2-4]

cable-states-no-pts

[14.2] Kelly says her animals are suffering in the cold and might be better off put to sleep.

cable-animals-best-pts

[14.3]  And again Kelly uses the threat of animals being put to sleep in a Voom fundraising appeal.

cable-animals-best-pts2

[14.4] In her own words again, Kelly finds it ‘sick’ to threaten to put animals to sleep. NB  – does she not realise that the animals she sells at market are put to sleep?

“This to me is the downside, having daily worries and stress of wondering where the animals food will come from, or what do I do threaten to have them all put to sleep as I have seen this happen before and I find that sick and I would rather find new homes for the animals if i could than threaten them with the worst case scenario, so if we can all help the small animal charities who tend to help more than the big ones, it would be alot less stressful for some owners of these charities especially able bodied ones.”
– Kelly Cable blog – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:yTRPmmgGRdoJ:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/downside-animal-rescue-kelly-cable+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

[15] Lucy was a very elderly horse. Kelly already made a fundraising appeal in which she mentions the cold is a big risk to her elderly animals. Rather than finding temporary stabling elsewhere, warmer, Lucy died in the cold at Northfield.

cable-horse-dies-cold

[16]   A horse dies of a broken heart; a horse it was attached to had recently died.  If Kelly would allow Aberdeen Voice to access her vet’s records (she claims we already have these records – we do not), it would be interesting to see what the vet considered the death to be from.

cable-horse-dies-broken-heart

[17] Animal feed is an expense Kelly often complains of. It is a pity an orphaned lamb was allowed to over eat to the point it died.

cable-lamb-overeats

[18]  The complex story of the ‘Shetland 6’ rescue ponies is addressed here.
https://aberdeenvoice.com/2015/09/animal-rescues-appeals-are-for-other-peoples-animals/

Sep 112016
 

Known more for filming nocturnal activities at music festivals and concerts, Dod Morrison turns his lens from the jet set to the badger sett. Photos and story by Dod Morrison. 

021-badgers-4-9-16-by-dod-morrison-photography-2-use-thisThe word Badger is said to derive from the French word Becheur meaning digger. Badgers have been present in the British Isles for at least 300,000 – 400,000 years.

Badgers live in complex underground burrow systems called setts, which can accomodate a group of six to ten individuals.

They are nocturnal animals, emerging from their setts soon after dusk and sniffing the air for danger before going about their activities.

This much loved animal is subject to persecution which stems back to the 70s when some badgers were found to be infected with TB. Some people thought that this could be passed on to cattle, and to combat this they starting gassing setts to keep the population of badgers down.

Even though there is no hard evidence that this is true, culling is still going on in some counties in England in 2016.

007-badgers-12-7-16-by-dod-morrsion-photography-2Road traffic is another problem for these creatures with as much as 40,000 being killed every year.

This is partly because badgers tend to habitually follow the same paths. So, if a road is built near a sett, the badgers just do as they normally do, placing them at the mercy of traffic.

On some new roads, however, badger tunnels are built underneath.

Imagine my delight when I was told where there was a sett and a good chance to see some of them up close and personal.

On arrival at this location, I put out some peanuts near where I thought they might appear.

011-badgers-16-7-16-by-dod-morrison-photography-2After sitting for about a hour, we could see something moving about in the gorse and then slowly we could see the familiar black and white stripes appearing over the ridge.

My heart skipped a beat and I started snapping away.

It looked up and I stopped and waited a few minutes until it got used to me, and then took more pics. I couldn’t believe how big it actually was.

Another smaller one appeared further down the gorse from a different hole and came out into the open and was even closer. Wow! I was hooked. We watched them for about 20 minutes.

004-badgers-august-2016-by-dod-morrison-photography-2Over the next few months I visited them on several occasions.

It is such a buzz when you see a head popping out of the sett and especially when it is one of the little cubs who are still quite shy and not as bold as the older ones.

When you see them out in the open away from the sett just milling about in the grass, it is joy to behold and fascinating to watch.

010-badgers-28-8-16-by-dod-morrison-photography-2They just wander around sniffing the air and then, noses to the ground, sniffing out earthworms.

Sometimes they just run around enjoying themselves.

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013-badgers-4-9-16-by-dod-morrison-photography-2

Near badgers setts there is often have a tree they scratch.

To see them this near is great – especially when one of them plays peek-a-boo with you.

Not many people will see these wonderful animals in their natural habitat so it was pleasure and a privilege to see them.
.

016-badgers-4-9-16-by-dod-morrison-photography-2bMy first visit in September proved to be my most fruitful and exciting yet.

They were on top form, climbing up the small tree stems, coming real close for the next two hours and general just larking about.

There is one young cub who is very shy.

I have caught sight of his head, but he rarely ventures out.

However, tonight I believe I finally captured him.

This was a magical moment as were all the sightings of these wonderful animals.

All photography © Dod Morrison – all rights reserved.

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Sep 092016
 

Old Susannah’s takes account of how no one is accountable any more for their actions. By Suzanne Kelly

DictionaryA lovely week of great weather in the Deen has passed; if only we had some city centre concrete slabs we could have relaxed on instead of a suntrap in the form of a sunken, historic, green, grassy garden. Oh well.

BrewDog threw another of its Drink and Draw events; these are for people of all abilities, and are going down a storm. Lush helped raise awareness and funds this past weekend for excellent charity DAWGS.

This past week in the UK saw some of the great thinkers of our time explaining some of their great works.

A 63 year old man in Manchester is being unfairly persecuted for punching a 5 day old baby in a supermarket. The proud parents were holding the child up to show to some of their friends on the child’s first-ever day out, when the man came over and punched the child in the head.

For some reason security called the police and the child was hospitalised (apparently she is fine now). Inexplicably, the police wanted the man to explain.

“I thought it was a doll,” he said. 

The Manchester City doll-punching finals will be held next month, we hear.

Closer to home, Aberdeen City Council is once again the toast of the town.

Not content with giving us Marischal Square and giving the P&J free rent for a year (while we have homeless on the streets and empty, habitable council properties it should be noted – thanks Pete Leonard), they are making the streets safe. By safe, I mean they are covering those hazardous cobbled streets of the merchant quarter (if that’s what we’re calling the Green this week) with tar.

No more high-heel-related trips; no more boring historical ambiance. It was all going to be lovely – then the not in my back yard brigade demanded the cobbles should be restored.

If only there were someone in charge of making decisions about our Housing and Environment who could know what’s going on and what’s happening. But if you’re only going to pay someone about £112,000 a year plus expenses and a £20,000 a year pension contribution, you’re not going to find anyone but a selfless saint to take on the job and actually know what his department heads are up to (isn’t that right Pete Leonard?)

Well, autumn is on the way, and Old Susannah will be joining Aberdeen’s fashionistas to do some shopping. And where better to wear the latest fashions?

ESCALE FRANCE is a Union Street shop selling fox and racoon fur clothing. Nothing screams ‘I am ignorant, self-absorbed and don’t care about needless suffering’ than decorating yourself with the pelt of an animal that was caged, tortured, terrified and skinned, usually alive, sometimes after being clubbed to death.

SPECIAL OFFER: Visit Escale France, and for every OS reader who tells them to stuff their fur where there will be no danger of sunburn, I will buy you a free half pint of BrewDog. I am serious. Send me a photo of yourself in front of their shop with an anti-fur poster to Aberdeen Voice, and I will stand you to a drink (first 50 people).

It is a well-kept secret, but it is possible to be warm and good looking in 21st century Scotland without sewing together the skins of tortured dead animals, raised only for fur, to wear.

Whether it’s making money out of torturing animals, tarring over a medieval cobblestone street, selling Aberdeen taxpayer-owned land for a pittance, or punching infant girls, the people who engage in such activities always have excuses.

Just remember – you can do anything you like – as long as you have a good back up story. Here are some examples of today’s best excuses, great and small. Have you screwed up? Did you lie down on the job? Over your head and don’t know what’s going on? Here are some helpful examples of how great leaders cope.

Clerical Error: (Modern English compound noun) To make an unintentional administrative mistake, which might include making a typographical error, mis-filing documents.

Didn’t get obey the law on Data Protection? No idea there was one? Are you charged with No clue how to do anything but your nails? No worries! If you’ve not registered your multi-million pound, 6,000 person employing golf resort complex with the UK authorities and are in breach of some serious human rights – just tell them you made a clerical error.

If you’ve been filming all those tedious plebs, camera crews and residents for years but didn’t actually register your activities, just tell the authorities it was not your fault, but one of your thousands of employees made a mistake and didn’t file.

According to that leftie newspaper The Guardian, the Scottish Information Commissioner’s office said:

““The Data Protection Act requires every organisation that processes personal information to register with the ICO, unless it is exempt. Failure to do so is a criminal offence,” the commissioner’s office said last week. “We’ll be writing to the company, asking it to clarify how it is registered.”

The award-winning most beautiful golf course in the world ever told the Guardian:

“We take the security of our employees and guests’ personal data very seriously and comply with all aspects of the Data Protection Act. [sure you do – Old Suz] A clerical oversight has just been brought to our attention which is now being rectified.

“As a public facility open to all, Trump International has CCTV cameras located at its entrance and around the public buildings within the estate, for the safety and security of its members, guests and staff. [but not for the safety and security of ramblers like Rohan Beyts, filmed while on the course, obvs – Old Suz]

So, it’s all just a clerical error. The clerk in question forgot to register with the Information Commissioner, assuming they had the sense to know that if you put up security cameras you need to do so. It would be a harsh person indeed who disagrees with the Trump position this is a clerical error.

Far be it from Old Susannah to suggest this is yet another mistake in a catalogue of mistakes (planning, budgeting, forecasting, course design – remember when part of the course was washed away?…) which demonstrate the management shows that it is both out of its depth as to what is required for legal compliance, egotistical to the point they feel themselves above the law, and demonstrative of disdain for the rest of us.

Yes, just a clerical error.

Bonus example of clerical error: The Press & Journal has reported on how lovely the course is, and how tastefully decorated the Trump-crested MacLeod house is. It also reported on Rohan Beyts’ being arrested for allegedly urinating in the Marram grass – and being allegedly filmed on Malone-Bates’ orders.

However, I can’t find a record of Damian Bates’s P&J reporting on Mrs Sarah Malone-Bates’ failure to register the Trump resort with the Scottish Information Commissioner. This omission is most likely just a clerical error.

Road Repair: (Modern English Compound noun) act of ensuring street surfaces are safe.

You really have to hand it to the people responsible for road maintenance in The Granite City. For centuries a cobbled street surface at the Green managed to endure. It’s just wild speculation, but in the past, Old Susannah guesses that if a cobblestone got chipped or loose, either it was replaced or the area around it would have been fixed. How did those past craftsmen manage for the hundreds of years before ACC 2016 existed?

Yes, someone near the top of the food chain, possibly of course in Housing & Environment (would that be you Pete Leonard?) decided the thing to do was to tar over the cobbles. Now I prefer the romance of a tarred street in a historic area as much as the next gal, but apparently people complained, and the cobbles will be restored.

Why did the city suddenly decide to tar the road over? According to the BBC:

“Aberdeen City Council said the resurfacing on Windmill Brae was necessary because some of the stones had come loose. Concerns had been raised on safety grounds by local businesses.”

The BBC piece continues:

“However, the local authority said the work was below standard and the tar would be removed. A “permanent solution” is being sought.” 

Why fix a few loose stones when you can tar over history? You might think that since policy seems to be pothole repair is done on a patchwork spot by spot area (when it’s done at all), some due care might have been given to fixing whatever stones were loose.

It does get better though – this whole debacle shows just how responsive and caring our council is. Local businesses – not named, not coming forward – apparently have safety concerns about the cobbles. Naturally, whenever a business or a person expresses a concern or a wish, the city will immediately spring into action to fix the issue or respond to the request. Just like when 3,000 of us and three community councils asked the city to leave Tullos Hill alone, spare the deer and save money.

If you don’t recall, the head of Housing & Environment helped push the destruction of 36 deer and we now have neither deer nor thriving trees in the scheme our head called ‘cost neutral’ (but you were wrong on all counts, and it’s cost the taxpayer a five figure sum so far, hasn’t it Pete Leonard? Ever thought of going into a different line of work?) But I digress.

Yes, some businesses apparently had safety concerns. Answer: change the hundreds of years old cobblestone streets. I am on the edge of my seat to see what businesses come forward to say they wanted this, and to see what the ‘permanent solution’ would be.

So the next time you vandalise a historic structure by covering it with tar (why didn’t the workmen wonder at the stupidity of their task you might ask?), just say you were trying to please local businesses, and it was unsafe – but you’ll undo it anyway. Makes perfect sense here in the Deen.

Finally, while I am in two minds about including this in a satirical column, sometimes satire is a good response in place of fury. Here are some of Pete Leonard’s excuses for the Aberdeen Crematorium ash scandal. Despite industry bodies existing in the UK for decades, despite best practice standards being easily found on the internet, despite being the man ultimately in charge, Pete Leonard has his reasons for what happened on his watch.

Vacation: (English Noun) State of being away from work, perhaps involved in travel and/or leisure.

While the families who were denied the chance of personally disposing of the ashes of their offspring waited for answers, Leonard was on vacation.

Signed off Sick: (English compound noun) Non attendance at work due to illness.

Mr Leonard did not return from holiday; he is signed off ill.

No Excuse:

So many people seek power and money; I’ve lost track of the people who asked me to try and help with long-running Aberdeen City housing issues (some quite horrific). I’ve tried to make Pete Leonard see sense over the deer cull; he would not take any heed or even listen to the experts who were lined up to give free advice on how to control deer without culling.

Leonard did however deliberately stop the proposal put forward by a councillor to retain and enhance the meadow at Tullos and leave the deer alone – Leonard said leaving the land alone was ‘too costly’.

Housing & Environment always had a reason for delays, bad decisions, and stubbornness. I will, as stated, publish a crematorium review report, but I leave you with this sobering conclusion from the public-facing report (I am trying to get the ‘secret’ report released, you know – by contacting that Information Commissioner Malone hadn’t a clue about). Here is what the report said about the crematorium service, which fell under Leonard’s remit:

“this was a section of the City Council working in almost complete isolation without any strategic direction, development or quality control of the service, so far as it related to babies, infants and non-viable foetuses. There was little knowledge by Senior Management of the service provided to the families of these babies.

“There was insufficient interest taken or leadership shown by management” 

I am sorry if Mr Leonard is ill. I do however want him out of office, as I have done since first encountering him. I am far sorrier for all the people who should have had someone in this highly-paid senior management who actually gave a damn. The evidence over the years convinces me he never did.

Let’s not leave on this bitter note though. Just a few words of advice in summary.

1.  if you are going to run the world’s greatest golf course, there may well be some laws that apply – even to you.

2.  Fur belongs on the animals that bear it. The animals do not belong in cages. The fur trade is obscene.

3.  If you are the sort of person involved in the doll-punching scene, try to make sure you can tell the difference between a doll and a living, breathing infant. If not – consider asking for permission to punch someone’s doll/child before actually doing it.

Next week: hopefully a report on Leonard’s resignation, and more definitions. And – hopefully by then Aberdeen City Council will have offered Aberdeen Voice a free office space too – if they do it for the P&J, then they should do it for us too (nb – we’d turn it down because of things called journalistic ethics, principle, and the fact Marischal Square is nearly as unpopular with the pubic as the P&J has made itself.)

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Aug 262016
 

No activity, however benign it should be, is safe from scams and frauds. Before assuming that every photo of an animal to be rescued is genuine – before assuming any charity is genuine, here are some points to bear in mind. By Suzanne Kelly.

willowsgingerEveryone who loves animals can have that sentimentality turned into a powerful weapon by scammers and fraudsters.

Reputable animal charities, animal welfare organisations, consumer protection bodies will all warn you to be careful who you send your money
to.

Scambusters identifies the seven most common types of animal charity frauds on its website.

Top of the list is people soliciting donations for animals that do not exist or that are nothing to do with the charity. Aberdeen Voice reported on one such story locally.

Northfield Animal Haven used photographs on several occasions in its fundraising – and the photographs turned out to be animals that had no connection to this organisation at all.

Despite bluster, threats and denials from Northfield, the facts remain:  the photos used were of other people’s animals which had no connection to NAH.

Some of the owners were extremely displeased at the use of photographs appropriated from their own websites without permission – which would not have been granted.

John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line said:

“Regretfully the time is long overdue when all animal sanctuaries and rescue centres need to be licensed, inspected by an independent authority and maintained to high minimum standards. A true animal sanctuary does not send any animals to slaughter, does not breed animals and does its best to find good homes for life for the animals it rescues.

“Numerous times a year we hear of “sanctuaries” which are really no more than well-meaning animal hoarders where one or two people, without the necessary space, financial resources or expertise take in numerous cats and/or dogs and sometimes farm animals and horses . Before long they discover they cannot pay for vets’ bills or even for food for the animals. The animals end up ill, emaciated and infested with worms, ticks, fleas and other parasites.

“Sometimes by the time the authorities realise there is a problem all they find are dead and dying animals. If you are requested to donate to an animal sanctuary there are several questions you should ask first. Is the sanctuary a registered charity? If the answer is ‘yes’ double-check with the Charity Regulator. If the answer is ‘no’ ask why not and how can they survive without the extra money charity status provides.

Ask for copies of its constitution and most recent accounts. Find out what animals it has and how it rehomes them. Are the animals neutered and is the sanctuary registered with a local vet? If you re-home an animal from a rescue centre, expect to pay a realistic fee to cover veterinary costs such as neutering, vaccinations and micro-chipping. Do not agree to pay a rescue centre large sums of money for pedigree dogs or fashionable cross-breeds.

“Expect the rescue centre to home-check you to ensure your premises are suitable for the animal you are taking on. If they do not do a home check they are not doing their job properly. Do not confuse animal sanctuaries with commercial enterprises such as working farms with visitor facilities, petting zoos or commercial falconry centres.”

Hoarders too masquerade as rescues. Any person or organisation that takes in more animals than it can support or continues to take in animals while unable to afford basics for existing rescues may well be a hoarder. Best Friends Animal Society has this to say on the subject:

“Collective denial – of individuals, of the whole group – may have contributed to the cats’ suffering. “It’s becoming a common thing,” says Dr. Gary Patronek, a veterinarian, epidemiologist and director of animal welfare and protection for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and the founder of the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC).

“We really don’t understand how groups of people, as opposed to individuals acting alone, could ignore suffering and death in a shelter or rescue environment. At least three different types of hoarders have been identified: overwhelmed caregiver, rescue hoarder and exploiter hoarder. It is the latter that is the least likely to have good intentions.””

One final word: any reputable charity will always make measured, logical, precise responses to the public’s concerns. Does your chosen charity answer questions in a suitable detail, or does it make an emotional, threatening, illogical response? Your clue is in the charity’s behaviour.

Always check a charity is registered, how old it is, and the owner/operator’s background may also offer further clues as to its reputation.

How to help animals? Choose transparent shelters; do not buy pedigree breeds when you can adopt animals instead (our area Scottish SPCA rescue is a great place to find a pet). Get your dog or cat neutered. And – be careful where your charity pounds are going.

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