Yesterday's attack by masked gunmen on the editorial offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been condemned across the globe as an abhorrent act of violence and a strike against freedom of speech and artistic expression. Tributes have been pouring in for the attack's 12 victims, including the magazine's editor and celebrated cartoonists. While much of the focus has been on the magazine's long tradition of caricaturing religious figures, including the Prophet Muhammad, several animal rights groups and conservation figures have also spoken out to highlight Charlie Hebdo's contribution to the fight for animal rights.
"The loss of Charlie Hebdo is also a blow for the rights of animals," wrote environmental activist and Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson in a Facebook update. "The Animal Rights Movement lost four great and talented activists today with the murder of cartoonists John (Cabu) Cabut, Stéphane (Carb) Charbonnier, Bernard (Tignous) Verlhac and Georges Wolinski," he added, noting that Charlie Hebdo has been the only French newspaper to clearly condemn bullfights, big game hunting and the keeping of marine mammals in captivity.
French non-profit organisation Code Animal posted a tribute and message of support, saying that the magazine had always supported its campaigns against animals in captivity. Activist organisation L214 also posted a statement: "We do not have the words to express our dismay and sorrow. Nothing can justify hatred and acts of such violence. Charlie Hebdo is the only French newspaper that dedicates one of their columns every week to the rights of animals."
"These were brave, talented and beloved people whose deaths will not be accepted meekly or quietly," Watson added.
Translation: We are not clowns!
Translation: Liberty-equality not captivity! Enough!
Top header image: Valentina Calà, Flickr