Arms trade is not kids' stuff, baby show organisers are told

By agency reporter
October 19, 2008

[Update 15 May 2009 - ]

Clarion Events, owners of the Baby Show which opened in London on Friday, are facing a backlash against their involvement in the arms trade. One of the Show's main sponsors, Bounty, has confirmed that it would not be exhibiting at the Show.

Unicef has pulled out of a deal with the Show that would have seen it receive donations based on ticket sales. The revenue lost to Unicef will be covered by Pampers.

A range of other exhibitors have written to Clarion to express their disagreement with the company's decision to buy arms fairs earlier this year.

Clarion's ownership of arms fairs was brought to exhibitors' attention by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and by the freelance journalist Emily Apple.

Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesperson Symon Hill said: "Clarion's boss Simon Kimble has been writing to Baby Show exhibitors to tell them that public opinion is not against the arms industry. Their own reaction has proved him wrong."

"Congratulations to those companies and customers who have stood up and said that the owners of the Baby Show should not be running arms fairs. Clarion is out of touch with public opinion. They can restore their reputation only by ending their involvement in the arms trade."

New mother Carrie Comfort, of south London, added: "As a new mother, I'm very disappointed that the owners of the Baby Show, Clarion Events, are running arms fairs. I'm able to enjoy every tiny smile and step of my baby, while some other parent has lost their child as a result of the arms trade."

Clarion Events has bought five arms fairs this year, including the biennial London arms fair which operates under the name Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi). The previous owner Reed Elsevier sold the fair following criticism from their own customers and shareholders. Clarion's other exhibitions include the Spirit of Christmas Fair, due in London from 5 - 9 November.

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