Animal Aid, founded in 1977 by Jean Pink, is a British animal rights organisation. The group campaigns peacefully against all forms of animal abuse - including the consumption of animals as food and their use for medical research - and promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle. It also investigates and exposes animal cruelty.
Animal Aid conducts undercover investigations, produces campaign reports, leaflets and fact files, as well as educational videos and other resources. They also offer a quarterly magazine and a sales catalogue with cruelty-free products.
Aims and objectives
Animal Aid was founded in January 1977 to work, by all peaceful means, for an end to animal cruelty. The organization is a not-for-profit limited company run by a volunteer council of management. It has not applied to be a charity so that it is able to use its funds for sometimes controversial campaigns. Its aims are:
- To increase public awareness of the abuse of animals in our society, particularly in vivisection laboratories and factory farms and to educate public opinion to demand, by all lawful means, the abolition of all experiments on animals, factory farming and all other forms of animal abuse.
- To examine existing legislation on matters associated with the above objectives or related aspects and to promote social, legal and administrative reforms in furtherance of the above objectives.
- To prevent exploitation of animals.
- To educate the public and particularly young people with a sense of moral responsibility towards animals.
- To promote, generally, a lifestyle which does not involve the abuse of animals.
- To collect, and diffuse among members and the public generally, information on all matters affecting the above objectives and with a view there to print, issue and circulate papers, periodicals, books, circulars and other literary matter and produce film and audio-visual material, and to promote, sponsor, procure or assist in any way, courses or lectures or other instructions in furtherance of such objectives.
Animal Aid has had a wide range of celebrity supporters, including Thom Yorke, Stella McCartney, Richard Wilson, Wendy Turner Webster, Massive Attack, Alexei Sayle, Benjamin Zephaniah, Martin Shaw, Chrissie Hynde, Alan Davies, Peter Tatchell and Reverend Professor Andrew Linzey and the late Tony Benn.
Dr Charlotte Uhlenbroek, the primatologist, has supported the Animal Aid campaign against primate experiments, stating: "I have yet to hear a sufficiently compelling scientific argument that justifies the suffering inflicted on primates in medical research."
Animal Aid campaigns include:
- Victims of Charity This aims to persuade medical research charities to stop funding animal experiments and to use methods such as epidemiological studies; in vitro research using human cell and tissue cultures; clinical studies; human autopsy examinations; computerised patient-drug databases and post-marketing surveillance; mathematical models and computer simulations and non-invasive imaging techniques. Since the launch of the campaign, two major charities have committed to stop funding animal research.
- Slaughter Animal Aid uses hidden cameras to film in UK slaughterhouses. It has found illegal cruelty in thirteen out of fourteen slaughterhouses visited so far. Since the launch of the campaign, all the major supermarket chains have agreed to insist that their suppliers fit CCTV cameras in their slaughterhouses. Animal Aid campaigns for mandatory independently monitored CCTV in all UK slaughterhouses.
- Horse racing This aims for an end to commercial horse racing, and as a first step, a ban on the use of the whip except for safety purposes. Whip regulations have been somewhat tightened up since the launch of the campaign. Race Horse Death Watch is Animal Aid’s online database that records thoroughbred deaths on British racecourses.
- Game bird shooting Animal Aid campaigns for an end to the production and shooting of animals for pleasure. Some 50 million pheasants and partridges are intensively farmed every year so that they can be released and shot for sport. In 2010, the outgoing Labour government was about to ban the metal battery cages in which thousands of egg-producing pheasants and partridges are confined to their productive lives. But this was overturned by the incoming Coalition government. Animal Aid continues its campaign for the cages to be outlawed.
- Veganism Animal Aid promotes a cruelty-free diet, provides free cookery demonstrations in schools, and sends out free information packs and other literature. A central feature of the campaign is the Great Vegan Challenge, which is staged every November.
Animal Aid's Christmas Fayre is held every year on the first Sunday in December, in London, England, to promote a cruelty-free lifestyle.
There are goods for sale including fair trade crafts and jewellery, cruelty-free cosmetics, recycled goods, environmentally friendly clothing, non-leather boots and shoes and seasonal cards and gifts. There is a lecture programme throughout the day, plus a wide variety of vegan food. It is promoted as a family event.
There is also an annual South West Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre held in Exeter, England.