Animal Aid

Welcome...

… to Animal Aid’s brand new, no holds barred blog!

This is where you will find all the inside news from our campaigns, education, merchandise and fundraising teams. So, if you want to know how we feel about current issues, how our school speakers cope with the rigours of the classroom, which vegan chocolates are the most popular around the AA office, or how our fundraisers keep on making the cash that the campaigns team keeps on spending, then please visit us often.

Some animals are more equal than others

By Kate Fowler

If only people were logical my job would be a lot easier. I can’t count the number of people who, once they’ve heard about the early lives of my rescued dogs, say ‘I can’t understand how people can be cruel to animals’, and then go home to a fry-up of bacon and eggs. Hmmm. Read more

A Vegan Goes A-Wandering

By Kate Fowler

For most people, choosing a holiday destination centres on what the weather will be like, and what there is to do and see. For me – and most vegans, I suspect – the key question is: will I be able to eat? While my partner googles local landmarks, hotel reviews and transport times, I get straight onto HappyCow.net to see where I can feed. Then we compare notes. Read more

Back to the future

By Andrew Tyler

In my previous life I was a journalist – the titles I worked on varying from trade magazines (in the earliest days), to community newspapers in Canada, then – back in England – on Disc & Music Echo followed by a few years on NME. Read more

The Dogs of Animal Aid, Part II

By Kate Fowler

About a year ago I wrote about the dogs of Animal Aid, in celebration of the canines who drop fur all over our office and leave toys in places that would keep a Health and Safety Officer awake at night. But now – with three of those beautiful dogs having moved to the great dog park in the sky – and three new ones here, it seems that the time is right for The Dogs of Animal Aid, Part II. Read more

Useful facts and figures in Phil Lymbery's Farmageddon

By Richard Mountford

I’ve just finished writing a review (for the May issue of Animal Aid’s Outrage magazine) of Farmageddon, a new book by the boss of Compassion in World Farming, Philip Lymbery. Writing a review forces you to read a book very closely, so there are lots of depressing facts in my head right now about animal suffering and also about environmental damage. Read more

Happy Half Life!

By Kate Fowler

2014 is a special year for me. It is the year when I have been vegan longer than I haven’t. Yes, I am celebrating my Half Life As A Vegan. I shared this news with my fellow campaigners and it turns out 2014 is a big year for them, too: 2014 is Fiona’s quarter century and Ben’s first decade as vegans. Drinks and nibbles all round. Read more

Dear supporters...

By Kate Fowler

Working in the campaigns team at Animal Aid is like riding a roller coaster, only without the slow bits. Actually, it’s more like clinging to a runaway train. Read more

Vegan Meet-up fun!

By Fiona Pereira

Who says it’s all doom and gloom? On Saturday I made it along to my local vegan meetup group in Brixton, which is part of the extremely successful and burgeoning London Vegan Meetup group. Read more

West Midlands Vegan Festival

By Diane Smith

The West Midlands Vegan Festival in Wolverhampton, which takes place every autumn, is billed as a ‘Celebration of Veganism’. On 26th October this year the two thousand visitors were treated to fascinating talks, cookery demonstrations and stalls offering every conceivable vegan delight – from raw food to fast food, from vegan cupcakes to seitan ‘steaks’. Read more

Vegan Running

By Kate Fowler

Hello. My name is Kate and I’m a vegan runner.

I know this makes me sound dull. And, to be honest, I am quite dull. Since I started running, I relish an early night with a cup of herbal tea and a good book on endurance racing, and somewhere along the way I seem to have accidentally given up alcohol. Read more

Sponsored events

By Richard Mountford

It’s very easy to sum up my job: I have to ask you to give money to Animal Aid. Many of you give regularly by standing order, maybe by being part of the Club Draw. But many people - not unreasonably - only give when they’re asked, and so I keep asking, and, thankfully, you keep giving, so there is money available for Animal Aid’s vital campaigns and educational work. Read more

Wickham Labs

By Dr Adrian Stallwood

On Saturday 7th September, I travelled to Gosport in Hampshire, to a national demonstration against Wickham Laboratories.

This ‘contract testing laboratory’ is involved in assessing pharmaceuticals, medical devices, animal feeds, human foods and consumer items for safety – and is unrepentant in its use of animals. Read more

Country Life

By Dr Adrian Stallwood

On a walk recently in deepest, greenest Carmarthenshire, we were heading out from a farm onto a woodland track. Our collie bounced forward a couple of feet towards a field gate, having seen a bunch of cows on the other side. The cows began to trot off away down the field, and we called our dog to heel. Read more

My Allotment

By Elaine Maytum

Well so far this year I have been very, very pleased with the abundant produce I have gathered from my allotment. At the beginning of the year I really had to push myself to get going with it. Read more

Tories in Bed with the Unions

By Kate Fowler

Is there any organisation as selfish, grasping and antisocial as the National Farmers’ Union? Is there any organisation, except the banks, that secures so much public money for its members while offering so little in return?

I wish I had written those words. Read more

It's a mad world

By Kate Fowler

Every day I receive requests from journalists who are looking for new stories. This would be terrific if they wanted to help us expose institutionalised animal cruelty or encourage a compassionate lifestyle but, alas, this is not the case. While one request, admittedly, did touched on our work, albeit in a frustrating way (‘I am looking for a vegetarian who would be willing to eat meat for a week to see if it makes a difference to their health’) most have nothing at all to do with animals and I’m being contacted just because my name happens to be on a list to which journalists subscribe. Read more

Thank you Uttoxeter (and surrounding areas)!

By Fiona Pereira

I wanted to thank all the activists who joined our protest at Uttoxeter Racecourse last week. The turnout, especially for a mid week demo, was fantastically impressive and showed just how committed and brilliant local activists, and local groups, are. Read more

Sick animal farming makes sick people

By Richard Mountford

One issue with animal farming that I always think is worth pursuing is the use of antibiotics. Instead of just being given to individual sick animals, they are often given to all the animals in an intensive farm shed in an attempt to stop infections taking hold and spreading rapidly in unhealthy, overcrowded factory farm conditions, and because (bizarrely) the drugs can promote rapid growth, which of course boosts profits. Read more

Should society bear some responsibility when slaughtermen kill people?

By Kate Fowler

Mark Bridger was today convicted of killing five-year-old April Jones. Bridger was a slaughterman. His job demanded that he extinguish life quickly, dispassionately and daily. He was required to cut throats, drain blood and not give those creatures a second thought. It would be a poor slaughterman who allowed the spilled blood and screaming of frightened animals to keep him awake at night, but those were the very images and sounds that haunted me as I embarked on Animal Aid’s three-year investigation into cruelty inside UK slaughterhouses. Read more

The Dogs of Animal Aid

By Kate Fowler

There aren’t many offices where dogs are welcome but Animal Aid, unsurprisingly, is a dog-friendly zone. On any day, there could be as many as six canines blocking corridors, shedding fur on carpets and throwing up their breakfast at your feet. It’s pure bliss. Read more

Wild Veganism

By Ben Martin

As an avid forager, for me spring means a return of fresh greens and the start of the wild-food year. For vegans, nature’s larder presents a multitude of new flavours, new textures and, above all, free plant-based food. Read more

It's all about badgers

By Kate Fowler

The campaign to stop the badger cull will soon hit the headlines once again. Every group associated with Team Badger has been working hard to try to derail this unethical and unscientific cull, holding political, legal and scientific discussions, building public support and gathering evidence. Sometimes people think that because a campaign is not reported in the media that nothing is being done. Headlines are, of course, the culmination of a campaign but the groundwork must first be laid. And, as with cake-baking and joke-telling, timing is key. Read more

Spreading the word

By Richard Mountford

When I say that Animal Aid produces high-quality, well researched reports, I’m not showing off, as I don’t write them – although I do proofread them before they are printed, so feel free to blame me for any mistakes! Read more

Having a blast at Brighton VegFest

By Fiona Pereira

So we’ve just finished unpacking after another excellent weekend of VegFest in Brighton. It’s fair to say we’re all knackered but brimming over with enthusiasm and optimism after meeting so many wonderful people there. Read more

Slaughterhouse Secrets

By Kate Fowler

After weeks of media revelations, there remains palpable shock that the slaughterhouse industry could be so dodgy as to be passing off horse meat as cow meat. To me, this is one of the industry’s more minor crimes. ‘But we have the right to know what we are eating,’ comes the cry. ‘We should have been given the facts.’ Read more

Thank you!

By Sophie Clements

The arrival of goods orders in the merchandise department sometimes seems to have only two modes – all systems go, or a little bit slow. Online shoppers, in particular, are somehow psychically connected, they know when others are placing orders and they want to get in on the action! The orders cascade in one huge flood or trickle in a few at a time, there is seldom any middle ground. Read more

Who needs love when you can have a heart-shaped chocolate?

By James Macauley

You know that mid-afternoon dip in energy we have all experienced, usually around 3/4pm? Yeah? Well I was definitely in that zone last Friday. Read more

Meat – A Hot Topic

By Ben Martin

Eating animals seems to be a hot topic at the moment. Over the past 2 weeks barely a day has gone by without meat or seafood appearing in the news for one reason or another. There was the horsemeat in burgers scandal, further evidence that crustaceans feel pain, abuse of horses at a British slaughterhouse, the rise of ‘flexitarianism’ and now we hear that meat from horses slaughtered in the UK for human consumption abroad may have been contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals. Even satirical news outlet The Onion has been getting in on the action. Read more

It's all about Yorkshire puddings...

By Carole Backler

Weeks ago, my colleague Fiona recommended the Maple Spice blog’s recipe for Yorkshire puddings as the best she had ever tried since going vegan. I had been meaning to try them myself but I didn’t have any of the egg replacer ingredients that the blog recommends, so I hadn’t got around to it yet. Read more

The Quest for the Vegan Yorkshire Pudding

By Kate Fowler

In the 20 years I’ve been vegan, there are very few foods I have missed. I did spend the very first week daydreaming about cheese but then – having crumbled and eaten about 4 pounds of the stuff – I never ate it again. I felt sick with guilt, and also sick with cheese. Read more

Feeding the meat-eating relatives

By Karin Watts

Occasionally, my meat-eating niece and nephews come over to stay with me at the weekends. I don’t have children myself, so each time they come I have to put my thinking cap on regarding providing nutritious meals that don’t contain meat. Read more

A joy, not a challenge

By Ben Martin

Whilst I’ve been working at Animal Aid for two and a half years now, it’s only been six months since I joined the campaigns team. In those six months I’ve worked on all sorts of projects, including our art and poetry competition for school children, the Meat Wagon tour and our ‘Farmer of the Year’ investigation. But by far the most rewarding project I’ve taken on has to be the Great Vegan Challenge. Read more

Of mice and men

By Dr Adrian Stallwood

As Animal Aid’s Scientific Consultant, as well as an emergency doctor and medical teacher, I am often juggling several balls at once. But for the last few months, one species of small mammal has been almost the unique focus of my animal attention – the humble mouse, Mus Musculus. Read more

Kids and Crafts

By Karin Watts

This year was Animal Aid’s 20th Christmas Fayre at Kensington Town Hall. It was my 10th! This year, to fit in with my new role as School Service Co-ordinator, I helped out at the Children’s Workshop. Read more

Scalped!

By Richard Mountford

Keen readers of this blog spot will recall that I was nervously awaiting Animal Aid’s Christmas Fayre, as I was due to have my head shaved there to raise money for Animal Aid. Read more

The democratic process

By Kate Fowler

There are many varied elements to campaigning for animals. One day I might be at Westminster meeting with an MP to try to further a campaign initiative, and the next I’ll be dressed as a giant pheasant, handing out leaflets to passers-by, and trying not to get rugby tackled by ‘fun’ loving teenagers. Variety is, as they say, the spice of life. Read more

Sticking my nose in

By Richard Mountford

In theory, my job at Animal Aid is to make sure we raise enough money to keep our Campaigns and Educational work going. In practice, lots of people have a role to play in fundraising, including the hundreds of Animal Aid members and supporters who organise stalls and help on street collections – and of course the thousands who make donations! Read more

The Education Department prepares for the Christmas Fayre

By Elaine Maytum

Once again I’m busily sorting out the crafts and materials for the children’s workshop at our Christmas Fayre in Kensington on Sunday 2nd December. Read more

Hold onto your hats, here comes the Christmas Fayre ...

By Kate Fowler

The Animal Aid Christmas Fayre is most certainly a highlight of the animal rights calendar and yet I have to admit that Animal Aid staff face it with some trepidation. It’s not the day itself – which is a wonderfully upbeat affair, and allows us to catch up with old friends, eat delicious foods, and shop for Christmas presents – but all the same, it is not without its stresses. Read more

Maybe it's cold outside ...

By Fiona Pereira

… but please don’t let the chilly temperatures put you off helping out with our campaign to persuade newsagents – like WH Smiths – and supermarkets to keep pro-shooting magazines out of the hands of children. Read more

What a long strange trip it's been!

By Mark Phillips

It feels like I’ve been working at Animal Aid for years but in fact I only started back in June this year; as Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead once said “what a long strange trip it’s been”. Read more

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness"

By Sophie Clements

Keats was obviously a fan of the autumn months and who can blame him? The trees put on their spectacular show of reds, golds and ambers, you can stay home in the evenings all snuggled up on the sofa, without feeling guilty that you really should be out for that jog, because it’s just too darn cold/wet/windy/insert own unacceptable weather condition here. But best of all, it’s the time of year when delightfully stodgy comfort food is not only appropriate, it’s practically a necessity! Read more

From Collections to Classrooms!

By Karin Watts

For the last nine years I've been on Animal Aid’s fundraising team but since July this year I’ve hung up my collection tins and tabards, and jumped head first in to the education team as School Speaker Coordinator. Read more

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