The courage to save the animals – interview with Meryl Harrison

One of the early interviews on The Phraser: Meryl Harrison, the lady who drove towards the chaos on Zimbabwe’s farms to help the animals as Mugabe’s land redistribution programme gained momentum.

The Phraser

Meryl Harrison of the ZNSPCA who led animal rescues at the time of Zimbabwe's chaotic land redistribution programme Meryl Harrison of the ZNSPCA who led animal rescues at the time of Zimbabwe’s chaotic land redistribution programme (photographed in England in 2012)

Ten years ago the BBC presented Meryl Harrison with a Special Award for Outstanding Work in Animal Welfare. Her ‘outstanding work‘ was done on Zimbabwe’s farms whilst Mugabe’s chaotic land redistribution programme was in full surge.

This was in the early 2000s.

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Innocent Victims by Catherine Buckle: Extract 4

This is the last of four extracts from Innocent Victims to be published on The Phraser. It is a reminder of the chaos that came with Zimbabwe’s land redistribution programme, and of the courage of those who tried to help.

The Phraser

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle.

Innocent Victims is about animal rescues in Zimbabwe during a violently enforced land redistribution programme which spilled across the country’s farms at the turn of the millennium.

Meryl Harrison and her small team from the ZNSPCA were at the heart of the rescues.

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Innocent Victims by Catherine Buckle: Extract 3

This is the third of four extracts from Innocent Victims, the book by Cathy Buckle about the rescue of the animals caught up in Zimbabwe’s land redistribution programme. This extract shows the confusion that erupted over who got what land, and how this impacted on the animals involved.

The Phraser

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle.

“In total, 260 Holstein cows were stuck in the middle of a bitter dispute and were losing weight and condition dramatically.”

The land the cattle were on had originally belonged to the Hughes family who had bought Bains Hope Farm in 1932. In 2003 the family were evicted and the land was caught in a tug-of-war between A1 settlers and Mr Bayisa – an A2 settler. As the arguments and intimidation continued the cattle got weaker and weaker.

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Innocent Victims by Catherine Buckle: Extract 2

Here is the second of four extracts from Cathy Buckle’s book ‘Innocent Victims’ about animal rescues in Zimbabwe. This piece is about Terry Ford’s devoted dog Squeak.

The Phraser

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle.

Terry Ford was murdered on Gowrie farm in Norton in Zimbabwe in March 2002. A photograph of his body, concealed beneath a blue bedspread and with a Jack Russell curled against its side, was picked up by news teams around the world.

The dog was called Squeak. His defiant vigil ensured that the world acknowledged his master’s brutal death.

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Innocent Victims by Catherine Buckle: Extract 1

This is the first of four extracts from Cathy Buckle’s book Innocent Victims – a book that tells the stories of the animal rescues attempted during the chaos and damage of Zimbabwe’s land redistribution programme. It begins in 2000.

The Phraser

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle

In 2009 Merlin Unwin published Innocent Victims by Cathy Buckle – a book about the efforts made to rescue the animals caught up in Zimbabwe’s farm invasions. Meryl Harrison led the team that tried to help.

Here’s a little background as to how it all began, followed by an extract of a few paragraphs to give a flavour of the story.

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Review: Innocent Victims by Cathy Buckle

This is an updated version of a book review I wrote in my first year as a blogger. I hope, that if you don’t already have a copy, this might persuade you to look for this excellent book about animal rescues in a difficult time in Zimbabwe.

The Phraser

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle

Turmoil tore into Zimbabwe’s farms in the early 2000s, the years Mugabe’s government chose to ignite its programme of land redistribution. Thousands of animals were trapped in the mayhem that followed.

Innocent Victims tells the story of the rescues carried out by a small team from the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA). The team leader was Meryl Harrison.

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Trip to Turin (Torino, Italy): final part!

Piazza della Consolata in Turin, Italy

Piazza della Consolata in Turin, Italy

Here are some final impressions of my excellent, food-themed days in Turin. The trip, arranged by locals, was a real treat.

First I want to take you to Piazza della Consolata.

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