After weathering the storm over Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the ensuing obscenity trial, you might have thought that the spirit of DH Lawrence might have been little troubled by a children’s petting zoo. But you would be wrong.
The planned appearance of the Bugs n Bones travelling exotic petting zoo at the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre appears to have thrown the tranquil world of Lawrence’s admirers into turmoil.
Enraged by the prospect of a petting zoo at the centre, David Brock has resigned from his post as newsletter editor, speaker secretary and press officer of the DH Lawrence Society – which, as Independent readers will doubtless know, should not be confused with the heritage centre, although both are based in Eastwood, Nottingham, where Lawrence was born.
Mr Brock, 64, a retired antique shop manager, says the zoo represents an unforgivable betrayal of Lawrentian principles.
“The centre is giving out the totally wrong message to visitors about Lawrence’s philosophy,” he said. “Lawrence would be livid at the lack of reverence for life shown by the centre in his name.”
He explained that the petting zoo, which exhibits animals including snakes, lizards and tarantulas, was an affront because “a recurring theme of Lawrence’s writing was his deep connection with nature. Lawrence believed that animals are to be respected as individuals in their own right and are not for this kind of human exploitation.”
Mr Brock, who is resigning his posts after holding them for ten years, said he was backed by the rank-and-file membership of the DH Lawrence Society, but had received “unpleasant criticism” from some people on the society’s ruling council. He said he had the backing of animal rights groups, including Animal Defenders International.
Claire Bates, Heritage Services Manager at Broxtowe Borough Council, which runs the heritage centre, was reported to have told animal rights campaigners that the arrival of the petting zoo was a “fun event” which “fits into the council’s remit to provide a range of events to meet the demands of the diverse community”.
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