Animal rights organisation Save Me was established in 2009 by rockstar and animal lover Brian May, initially to oppose undercover, illegal fox hunting. With a reputation built on lobbying and parliamentary debate, the charity now campaigns on a range of animal welfare and rights issues including badger culling, puppy farming and the involvement of wild animals in circus shows.
Here, Save Me CEO Anne Brummer introduces the Unfair Funfair collaboration from the animal rights charity and warns the hunts are still it.
Anne, what campaigns has Save Me been involved in recently?
“We were initially set up to oppose fox hunting, and we still do a lot of campaigning around this issue. One of the main things we’re doing at the moment is working on converting blood hunts to clean boot hunting [a sport in which dogs are trained using treats and positive reinforcement to follow the scent of a running man rather than foxes]. We’ve managed to set up 11 of these so far.
“We also opposed the badger cull by forming an organisation called Team Badger and connecting groups involved in badger campaigning. As long as you agree with two points, (that badgers carry TB but that the solution is not culling) then you can join. Opposing the badger cull as a network is quite a powerful thing.
“Over recent months we’ve been running a lot of other campaigns too. We’ve joined the Unfair FunFair campaign and coordinated a lot of groups involved in the fight against puppy farming too. Some things you really can’t believe are taking place in this day and age. Never should an animal be a prize.”
What have been your biggest successes?
“The success so far of the clean boot hunting has been a big thing - we had another hunt just this week who converted to this method. Also, the headway we’ve made with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) about the badger cull, in terms of getting the information to them that we wanted to. It’s been very hard to get into a position where they’re actually listening rather than just giving you lip service.
“With regards to culling, we’ve been working on some farms where we’ve managed to get rid of TB through various processes and so, going forwards, we want to make these different processes like vaccination, wider spread within the farming community so that we get to a stage where nobody even thinks of culling as an option; they don’t think it’s financially viable or even effective. But there’s so much more to do on everything!”
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
“Apathy. Not caring is a big issue. We’ve come across this a lot with the puppy farming. I’m talking to people who’ve got puppies and explaining to mothers the reason you shouldn’t be involved in the trade but actually they want that puppy tomorrow and that kind of overrides it. People want everything instantly and I think the way that we communicate online now has a little to do with that because you’re able to focus in on your area. Hopefully, that will start to change.”
How do you counteract that?
“We’ve been looking at different ways to communicate with people. It’s not always about showing people horrible pictures because if that worked the animal rights movement would be over by now because we’d have solved it all. It’s about engaging with people. They need to trust you. We need to show people that they have the power.”
What one small thing could people do that would make a difference?
“Just being aware. You can make a few little changes that won’t infringe too much on your life. For example, we almost won’t need a law to stop puppy farming if people stop buying from puppy farms.
“If we look after animal welfare then the rights will come - that’s a natural process.”
Learn more about Save Me and get involved here.