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Jill Phipps

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Jill Phipps
180px JillPhipps.jpg
Born(1964-01-15)15 January 1964
England.
💀Died1 February 1995(1995-02-01) (aged 31)
Baginton, Warwickshire, England.1 February 1995(1995-02-01) (aged 31)
Cause of deathPhysical trauma
🏳️ Nationality
💼 Occupation
Animal rights activist
👶 Children1 son
🌐 Websitejillphipps.org

Jill Phipps (15 January 1964 – 1 February 1995) was a British animal rights activist who was crushed to death during an animal rights protest in Baginton, Warwickshire, England, while she was trying to stop a lorry transporting live veal calves heading for continental Europe via Coventry Airport.

Background[edit]

Phipps did well at school but chose not to stay on after the age of 16; she went to work for the Royal Mail (her father was a postman). She had become interested in caring for animals when young, and joined her mother's campaigning against the fur trade from the age of 11. After herself becoming a vegetarian, Phipps persuaded the rest of her family to join them. A local campaign in Coventry supported by Phipps and her mother succeeded in closing down a local fur shop and fur farm. In 1986, together with her mother and sister, Phipps raided the Unilever laboratories in Bedfordshire to protest at their use of vivisection, and "smashed computer equipment, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage". The group were caught and prosecuted: Phipps' mother was sentenced to six months imprisonment, her sister to eighteen months, but Phipps herself received a suspended sentence as she was pregnant.[1]

After her son Luke was born, Phipps spent more time caring for him (having divorced her husband, she raised him as a single parent). She attended occasional demonstrations and hunt sabotage meetings during school holidays together with her son. The use of Coventry airport for export of veal calves horrified her, and in January 1995 she walked almost 100 miles from Coventry to Westminster to protest; on her 31st birthday she protested outside the home of the man who ran Phoenix Aviation, the firm that operated the exports from Coventry airport.[1]

Fatal accident[edit]

On 1 February 1995, Phipps was one of 35 protesters at Coventry Airport in Baginton, protesting at the export of live calves to Amsterdam for distribution across Europe. Ten protesters broke through police lines and were trying to bring the lorry to a halt by sitting in the road or chaining themselves to it when Phipps was crushed beneath the lorry's wheels; her fatal injuries included a broken spine. [2]

"An hour after she arrived on the day she died, the lorry appeared. Most of the protesters were further down the road but a small group, including Ms Phipps who had arrived earlier, were at the entrance of the airport when the articulated lorry came up the road. As it bypassed the main group of campaigners, she ran, arms outstretched, headlong towards it. She clambered up the front wing. Her sister watched in horror as she slipped and fell beneath the wheels."[1]

Aftermath[edit]

The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was no evidence to bring any charges against the driver. Phipps' family blamed the police for her death, because the police appeared determined to keep the convoy of lorries moving despite the protest. The inquest heard that the driver may have been distracted by a protester running into the road ahead of him, who was being removed by a policeman. A verdict of accidental death was returned.[2]

Veal calf exports from Coventry Airport ended months later, when the exporting aviation firm was liquidated.[citation needed]

The continuing level of protest was such that several local councils and a harbour board banned live exports from their localities.[3] All live exports of calves later stopped due to fears of BSE infection. In 2006 this ban was lifted, but Coventry Airport's executive chairman pledged that it would refuse requests to fly veal calves.[4]

Jill's Film, with footage of Phipps, the Coventry protests, the funeral, and interviews with Phipps' family was produced,[5] and shown for the first time at the Jill's Day 2007 event in Coventry.[6] For many years, animal rights protests were held around the anniversary date of Phipps' death,[7][8] and many have claimed Phipps was a martyr to the cause. Though Phipps had been quoted as saying "Yes, I think people could be hurt ... We are so determined to stop this trade, we will go that far," her father said "Jill was no martyr to the cause. She had a young son to live for. She did not want to die."[1]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Valley, Paul (3 February 1995). "For what cause did Jill Phipps die?". The Independent.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Honigsbaum, Mark (February 5, 2005). "Woman who died in veal protest becomes martyr of wider cause". The Guardian.
  3. Barnard, Catherine; Hare, Ivan (1997). "The Right to Protest and the Right to Export: Police Discretion and the Free Movement of Goods". The Modern Law Review. pp. 394–411 – via JSTOR.
  4. Coventry Live (9 March 2006). "No veal flights from Coventry". Coventry Telegraph.
  5. Coventry Live (7 February 2006). "Friend's movie tribute to tragic Jill". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 July 2007.
  6. "Jill's Film". Jill Phipps Memorial Website. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007.
  7. Day, Rosie (30 January 2015). "Jill Phipps". Coventry Telegraph.
  8. Griffin, Mary (31 January 2015). "Coventry campaigner Jill Phipps remembered 20 years after her death". Coventry Telegraph.


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