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Soapbox: Animal Aid

Animal Aid is the UK’s largest animal rights group in the UK and we campaign on a broad range of issues. From animals in laboratories to those who live freely (but are still persecuted) – we speak up for them all.

Our campaigns are innovative and hard-hitting. On the morning of the notoriously deadly Grand National this year, we hung banners from the ‘Gift Horse’ statue on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. They stated: ‘Horse Racing. You bet, they die’, and the pictures went all over the media. And when the British Heart Foundation – a charity that funds repulsive animal research – held a swanky celebrity function in a London hotel, we were right there on the red carpet photo-bombing the celebs with our placards.

These stunts are great for raising awareness but there is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Around four hundred horses are raced to death each year in Britain, including two at the three-day Grand National event his year. Thousands more are disposed of as commercial failures each year when they’re not deemed to be good enough to race and win prize money. Animal Aid was the first organisation to film undercover inside a horse slaughterhouse where these horses – and many more unwanted riding ponies – are casually killed.

Our Victims of Charity campaign examines the large medical charities – including Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Alzheimer’s Society and Parkinson’s UK – that fund or conduct animal research. We examine the different experiments and make public what the research actually involves … often appalling and, in our view, unjustifiable animal suffering. More than that, we believe that the research done on animals cannot be reliably applied to people, and so animal experiments lets human patients down, too. Our Victims of Charity website allows everyone to take action. Take a look! 

Another of our most important campaigns is for farmed animals. One billion pigs, sheep, chickens and cows are slaughtered every year in the UK, behind closed doors and hidden from public view. Animal Aid’s investigators have planted secret cameras inside ten UK slaughterhouses and blown the lid on the myth of ‘humane slaughter’. We found that nine of the ten slaughterhouses were breaking animal welfare laws, often in the most brutal ways imaginable.

We work to bring sadistic slaughterhouse workers before the courts, and we lobby politicians and other decision-makers on improving the pitiful standards inside slaughterhouses. But most of all we encourage everyone who sees our investigations to take action themselves and adopt a diet free from animal products, as that is the only way to prevent farmed animals from suffering.

In fact, the highlight of our year is our Great Vegan Challenge, which takes place every November. We encourage people to sign up and try veganism for a month, and we support them throughout with advice, recipes, nutrition information and all the reasons why veganism is such a great diet. We also take some of our Challengers to an animal sanctuary where they can ‘meet their meat’ and that is a life-changing experience for many. Being vegan is easy. All the Animal Aid campaigners are vegan so get in touch and ask us for more info!

Animal Aid also campaigns against sport shooting. Is there anything more abhorrent than breeding 50 million pheasants and partridges each year just so they can be shot for fun? The breeding birds are incarcerated in battery-style cages. We campaign to outlaw these contraptions, and we expose the brutality of the shooting industry. It’s not just pheasants and partridges that are victims; gamekeepers kill foxes, stoats, weasels, crows, magpies, squirrels, and many other animals. Even ‘protected’ badgers and birds of prey are shot, snared or poisoned on shooting estates.

Alongside Lush and lots of others, we campaign against the badger cull. But Animal Aid also campaigns against the culling of ruddy ducks, monk parakeets, grey squirrels, black rats, Canada geese and many other animals who are targeted, often for extremely dubious reasons. They all have the right to share our planet, don’t they?

Our education team does a brilliant job going into schools and talking to pupils of all ages – from five to 18 – about animal issues. Our army of volunteer school speakers change lives every day. And we produce fantastic resources for teachers, from lesson plans to posters and free DVDs. 

So, we’re very busy! But we are passionate, and absolutely committed to ending the persecution and abuse of animals.

Take a look around our website, sign up for email updates, and join us! We could use talent like you!


Written by Animal Aid's Kate Fowler


Free speech is a right that is worth preserving. We give our SOAPBOX pages to others to tell us their view of the world. 

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