A long standing member of the DH Lawrence Society has resigned over a decision to exhibit wild creatures at Eastwood’s Heritage Centre.
The DH Lawrence Centre is hosting a ‘bugs and bones’ event for kids this summer – but Dave Brock says it goes against everything Lawrence stood for, and has resigned from the Lawrence society council after ten years.
The travelling exotic petting zoo will exhibit captive wild animals, including snakes, lizards and tarantulas.
Society newsletter editor, speaker secretary and press officer Mr Brock said it was ‘unethical’ and ‘totally alien’ to Lawrence’s own philosophy of life.
“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,” said Mr Brock.
The Lawrence fanatic believes Broxtowe Borough Council – the authority that runs the Lawrence centre – is now abusing it by holding these events.
“The centre is giving out the totally wrong message to visitors about Lawrence’s philosophy. Lawrence would be livid at the lack of reverence for life shown by the centre in his name,” he said.
Mr Brock wrote about the subject in a recent Lawrence society newsletter and he received criticism from other council members for speaking out about it.
Claire Bates, the heritage services manager at Broxtowe Borough Council, removed the society’s newsletter from display at the centre and insisted the event would go ahead.
Ms Bates said it was intended to be a ‘fun event’ and it ‘fit into the council’s remit to provide a range of events to meet the demands of the diverse community.’
Mr Brock said he had received letters of support from all over the world.
“I cannot speak for members of the council but I have a lot of support from members of the DH Lawrence Society world wide.
“It would be utterly ridiculous I feel that the author of Lizard or Snake or Mountain Lion would wish to see wild reptiles and similarly exotic insects traded as slaves of human vanity and hubris and kept squalidly imprisoned in vivariums in our front rooms. The idea is insane.”
Mr Brock said: “To Lawrence, the very nature of nature is that it must remain exotic, esoteric, wild and unkempt. Anyone who has read a sentence of Lawrence must surely know this? To ‘pet’ is to control, to neuter and defang, to suck the very marrow from all that is wild and wonderful and leave it desiccated and lifeless. Why does the Heritage centre want to give off these perverse sentiments that are the antithesis to everything that Lawrence stands for?”