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Battersea Cats and Dogs Home respond to Pride flag backlash: 'We're proud to be inclusive'

Exclusive: "We raised our flag to symbolise we're open, and inclusive for our dogs, cats and people. No amount of negative comments on social media will change that," rep tells Attitude.

2021-06-30

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Twitter/@Battersea_

We didn’t think it was possible for people to hate on a rescue and rehousing centre for animals. Sadly, we’ve been proven wrong.

Indeed, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home are the latest organisation to weather backlash after showing online solidarity with LGBTQs during Pride month. 

However, in a statement to Attitude, Battersea said they're standing firm in their inclusive stance, insisting: "No amount of negative comments on social media will change that."

“We're proud of having an inclusive culture that's welcoming to all”

On Monday (28 June 2021) the home posted a 15-second clip of their new Pride flag, which combines their logo with the colours of the Progress Pride flag.

However, this was too much for some, who questioned why the group needed to get involved in LGBTQ issues. Others simply made ignorant jokes.

In their original tweet, a Battersea rep said: “Last week we raised our first-ever bespoke Battersea Pride flag at our London centre to mark #PrideMonth.

"The flag symbolises that Battersea is open to all dogs, cats and people, and shows that we're proud of having an inclusive culture that's welcoming to all.”

One person replied: “Dude, cats and dogs don't care about people calling them the right pronouns.” 

Another person simply tweeted: “I've just cancelled my donations.” 

Some people asked if the charity had donated to Stonewall or was a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, prompting the charity to follow up the original tweet with another saying: “Battersea is not part of the Stonewall scheme, but we are proud to be an open and inclusive charity for both our staff and volunteers, which is what this flag represents to us.”

“What a fantastic symbol”

However, the majority of messages Battersea received were overwhelmingly positive. One follower tweeted: “This is a great demonstration of your support. We are all standing with you Battersea - and what a fantastic symbol for your animal adopters, staff and donors. Ignore the transphobic pile on. 

Another relayed a sweet story while also thanking the rescue service for their support. "Anecdotally, not so long ago you helped my nan find the right dog, and the company has been a true lifeline for her through shielding measures," they said.

Battersea's full statement to Attitude reads: “Battersea raised our Pride flag to symbolise that we are open, and inclusive for our dogs, cats and people. No amount of negative comments on social media will change that. Our staff and volunteers come together to celebrate Pride month every year, and we hope to take part in the Pride in London parade again later this year.”

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