Our work in 2015

Posted on the 21st December 2015

Thank you for everything that you have done to support Animal Aid’s work during 2015. There is lots to mention, and none of it would have been possible without the generous financial support of people such as you. Many of you have taken an active part too, by emailing, giving school talks, attending demos and in many other ways. Please carry on working with us, and we will be able to carry on doing our work. Here are some of the highlights of 2015.

Campaigns

General election

Our Votes for Animals website aimed to help Vote for Animals postcardpeople decide who to vote for by publicising each MP’s position on a number of animal-related issues. The site also listed which Early Day Motions (EDMs) each MP had signed, as well as indicating whether they were in favour of the badger cull and the hunting ban.

Vote for Animals march outside ParlimentThousands of our supporters contacted their MPs, and tens of thousands of leaflets were distributed to spread awareness. Along with the League Against Cruel Sports, Lush Cosmetics and Brian May’s Save Me, we marched on parliament to highlight the importance of animal protection issues when voting. Many of us were dressed as suffragettes, and wore Votes for Animals rosettes and animal masks. The rally was widely covered by the media.

Since the election, we have updated the website with the new MPs and continue to contact them and record their standing on these issues.

CCTV in Slaughterhouses

In February, we made public our first investigation into a non-stun slaughterhouse, our tenth slaughterhouse overall. At Bowood Worker punches sheepYorkshire Lamb, we found horrific cruelty and the investigation was covered on all the major media channels.

Unprecedented demand for our Go Vegan information packs followed.

Our government e-petition for mandatory, independently-monitored CCTV in all slaughterhouses passed the vital 100,000 signature mark, with more than 112,000 signatures. This allows us to arrange – with the support of MPs – a parliamentary debate.

The Bowood footage was examined by the Foods Standards Agency (FSA), whose case files are now with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). In August, Bowood went into administration, but the workers can still be prosecuted.

In May, we took our Battle Bus on tour, visiting towns near to the slaughterhouses we have exposed, showing footage from our investigations.

In June, a new EDM (153) was tabled, which calls for mandatory CCTV with independent monitoring. At the time of writing, 129 MPs have signed it, with support across the political spectrum, making us just three signatures short of the most successful EDM on the subject yet.

Other Animal Farming Issues

We submitted objections to several massive Fridays investigation 2015intensive farms across the UK, and put together actions so that our supporters could easily do so as well. These included giant pig farms in Northern Ireland, a ‘free-range’ egg farm in Kent and a million-bird ‘broiler’ chicken farm in Yorkshire. We carried out undercover investigations at premises run by the companies applying to build the farms in Kent and Yorkshire. The plans for the egg farm were withdrawn following our investigation.

This December, we produced a new film contrasting the lives of rescued turkeys at Hillside Animal Sanctuary and the miserable existence of factory farmed turkeys, calling for everyone to have a meat-free Christmas dinner instead.

Veganism

We sent a Freedom of Information request to all acute NHS hospitals in the UK to establish what food they served their patients, and discovered that all but one serves processed red meat. This is despite the body of scientific evidence linking it with an increased risk of bowel cancer. In terms of provision for vegan patients, there was a significant improvement since our last survey in 2004, and a number of trusts with poor provision have committed to making improvements. We are urging hospitals to stop serving processed red meat altogether.

In November, we had our fourth annual Great Great Vegan Challenge logoVegan Challenge, with more than 1,500 people taking part, almost twice as many as we had in the first year. Feedback so far suggests that more than half of participants have committed to staying vegan, and many others intend to cut their consumption of animal products.

Vivisection

Victims of CharityOur Victims of Charity campaign targeted Cancer Research UK for co-funding cruel and out-dated experiments on rats and mice at Edinburgh University. The Alzheimer’s Society was also highlighted for co-funding disturbing experiments on mice at the University of Ulster. Thousands of supporters wrote to both charities asking them to stop funding animal experiments.

We targeted the British Heart bhf1Foundation’s fundraising celebrity ball, following our exposé of their bankrolling a nutrition experiment using mice. Our leaflets were distributed inside the ball and we held an eye-catching photo call outside with protestors wearing mouse masks.

Our petition calling on the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to stop demanding that its members publicly support vivisection as a requirement for membership (launched in Nov 2014) has now been signed by more than 16,000 people.

In May we launched our innovative phone app, Cruelty Free Giving. This simple app allows people to check whether medical research charities fund experiments on animals. It is free and is available from the iTunes or Google Play stores.

Age UK logoIn June, we received the great news that Age UK will stop funding any experiments involving animals as of 31 December 2015.

Horse racing

We continued our protests againstTrafalgar Square Grand National protest 1 the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National meeting at Aintree. Ahead of the Grand National, a protestor scaled the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square and wrapped the ‘Gift Horse’ statue by Hans Haacke in a banner reading ‘Horse Racing: You bet, they die’. This protest was widely covered in the media and spread our message to many.

In November, we released our new report into the use of the whip in racing, Abuse and Lose.

Shooting

In June, we released a new undercover film exposing the wretched existence of caged egg-producing pheasants and partridges. Our revelations were reported in The Times.

In September, an EDM (402) was launched calling for an end to the use of these battery cages. Our annual National Anti-Shooting Week focused on this same aspect of our campaign, and activists around the country took the message to their town centres, asking people to write to their MPs.

The League Against Cruel Sports, the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming all supported our call for a battery cage ban.

In December, our Battle Bus toured a number of cities in England showing the footage, and we called on viewers to contact their MP to sign EDM 402, calling for a ban.

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