Harrison forced out again

Meryl Harrison, a prominent animal welfare activist, has been forced to leave Zimbabwe for the second time following relentless official pressure that has affected her health. Her departure has resulted in a storm of protest and praise.

Meryl Harrison.
Meryl Harrison.

Chris Foggin, Chairman of Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe, said Harrison had suffered ‘’unrelenting negative pressure’’ since she returned in 2009 after years of absence.

Now in her sixties and suffering a heart problem, Harrison has played an active role in rescuing thousands of animals left stranded on invaded farms during Zimbabwe’s fast track land “redistribution programme.

Among the horrors she witnessed were cattle that had been axed by the youth militia and left to die, donkeys and horses burnt alive, abandoned dogs and injured wild animals like hippos and elephants.

“My mission was not about people or human rights but about animals and their welfare and there was no room for politics, race or prejudice. There was unbelievable cruelty. Snares were just put everywhere and never checked on. We rescued about 500 security dogs. Some of the smallest animals rescued include goldfish, cats, dogs, pangolins and the biggest animals were mainly the sable and other antelope,’’ she said.

Harrison has won several international awards for her work in promoting animal rights.

‘‘We all wish Meryl all happiness in the UK and a great retirement you sure deserve. Everyone whose (life) you’ve touched including the hundreds of innocent victims wish you good health! We will miss you terribly,’’ wrote Mike Garden, the Chairman of the Kennel Club of Harare.

Another writer who identified himself as John said Harrison should be awarded with an OBE ‘‘for her extraordinary work protecting and saving animals in Zimbabwe for so many years. Her work on farms when they were destroyed by so-called War Vets is beyond ordinary praise. My son-in-law and daughter lost their farm and had a horse burned alive. It was a terrible time and Meryl was in the thick of it all.”

Her book ‘Innocent Victims: Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions’ has won international accolades.

Post published in: News
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  1. Joe Cole

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