Duncan Steedman, following a memorable send-off in Brighton, is now en route to Spain to cycle a gruelling 1500-mile journey in support of the Animal Protection Agency (APA) campaign against the proposed legalisation of UK pet markets.
Duncan's sole purpose for embarking on such a formidable expedition in the Spanish heat is to raise awareness and vital financial sponsorship for the anti-pet market campaign.
Duncan was waved off by friends, fellow APA supporters carrying placards and banners, and Brian Blessed who took time away from his filming of Kenneth Branagh's "As You Like It" to wish him good luck.
Brian Blessed, in a live interview to the BBC who filmed the send-off, spoke passionately against the ongoing importation of millions of wild animals into Europe, many of them bound for the UK. He also enthused about the Animal Protection Agency and its achievements and called for support for our campaign against the wildlife trade.
In his attack on the proposal to lift the ban on pet markets, Blessed said: "It's appalling for a country of nature lovers! We've got to stop it! We've got to put the animals first."
Pet markets, were they to be legalised in the UK, would bring about an inevitable gigantic upsurge in the numbers of animals trapped from the wild for the pet trade and would also encourage the captive-breeding of exotic animals which is also fraught with welfare problems. Pet markets provide an opportunity for wildlife dealers to dispose of sick and dying animals and sometimes illegally obtained animals.
Duncan, who has spent many weeks training and preparing for his expedition, will be reporting back regularly to the APA on his progress and in turn we would like to encourage him by letting him know how much support he has here. It's therefore not too late to sponsor Duncan or ask your friends and family to do the same for this very important campaign (you can download a sponsor form here).
Issued: June 2005
Duncan Steedman - an APA supporter - is cycling a zigzag route across Spain during June and July 2005 to raise vital funds for our work. Brian Blessed launched the expedition that will cross tough terrain, arid desert and tortuous mountain ranges. Duncan says that he feels it is nothing compared with the arduous journeys endured by terrified wild animals destined for the pet trade. Spain is known to be a main entry point for the illegal trafficking of animals arriving from Latin America. From there they are re-exported to other countries including the UK.
Please ask your family and friends to sponsor Duncan and support his efforts to raise funds, and at the same time, the profile of our campaigns. Watch this space as we will feature regular updates of Duncan's progress.
Well-known actor and mountaineer Brian Blessed launched the 1,500 mile journey.