Moving on

Moving on

Andrew with Peter Tatchell
Andrew with Peter Tatchell

Andrew Tyler became Director of Animal Aid in January 1995 – a role he fulfilled until his retirement in September 2016.

Here is his take on the Society’s evolution.

The industries at the heart of animal exploitation were taken by surprise in the very early years of animal rights activism (from the early 1970s). So much was concealed from the public about everyday abuse, that merely revealing it shocked people and undermined those systems – whether it be hunting, pig farming, or smoking experiments on beagle dogs.

Then came the fightback by the guilty parties. What looked to the average person like cruelty, they insisted, wasn’t. And they went about ‘proving’ their point with long, elaborate and deceitful ‘justifications’. But animal activism grew stronger, and so the next phase of the fightback was to characterise any talk of fundamental change in human beings’ relationship with animals as ‘extremism’, which is a short hop from terrorism … and some of that mud stuck.

By the early to mid 1990s, an urgent task for us at Animal Aid was to help restore the reputation and credibility of animal rights. It was often being said that our claims of systematic abuse by, for instance, the farming industry, were high on emotion and short on fact. And that when we did publish facts they couldn’t be trusted.

Our answer was to go to the heart of where the abuse and exploitation were starkly evident and could not be credibly denied. Employing a first class lead investigator, we conducted undercover filming at livestock markets, farms, slaughterhouses, on pheasant shoots, ‘game farms’, racecourses, in a horse vivisection establishment and more.


Investigation at York Wold Pig Pro farms February 2016.
Warning: contains upsetting scenes

The resulting dossiers and reports had above all to pass strict tests of accuracy, clarity and believability. When animal suffering was described it was done without hype. Reality was bad enough without overcooking our retelling of it. In short, when a new Animal Aid report was published, we wanted the assumption to be that it could be trusted. Building the credibility we enjoy today was slow, as was developing links with national and regional journalists – both print and broadcast. The same was the case with parliamentarians and government officials. Politicking is often a frustrating and dispiriting business but it’s an important part of the mix.

MP Jeff Smith indicates his support for our campaign for mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses
MP Jeff Smith indicates his support for our campaign for mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses

While all this heady media and political activity was going on, it was essential we didn’t retreat from our animal rights principles. Despite the mud thrown at it we wouldn’t shrink from using the term animal rights, or in declaring that our goal was an end to all animal exploitation, which meant a diet free from animal flesh and secretions, an end to vivisection, commercial horseracing, the ‘sport shooting’ of animals, wildlife culls and so on. Vegan Month was launched in November 2007 to give extra momentum to our long-standing promotion of the-animal-free diet. Then came the Great Vegan Challenge, followed by the Great Vegan University Challenge.

Great Vegan Challenge

We had by then developed two major new ongoing campaigns: the aforementioned anti-horse racing and shooting initiatives. To give them the credibility they needed we took on experts to guide our way. A peerless example is our horse racing consultant Dene Stansall.

For my own part, if I was going to criticise publicly the various forms of entrenched animal abuse, I knew that my voice would carry more weight if I continued gaining direct, close-up experience of those systems. (I’d already had a good amount through my past life as a journalist.) And so, I made dozens of covert visits to ‘livestock’ markets and, less frequently because access is more difficult, to farms, animal research labs, a horse ‘knackers’ yard, pig and chicken killing factories, zoos and the like.

While all that is described above has been and will continue to be critically important, it is our relationship with grassroots campaigners that is paramount. The movement for animal rights can have no real purchase without the commitment and hard work of local activists. We know that all too well at Animal Aid. And we thank them for it.

Benjamin Zephaniah

People all over the country are beginning to understand how becoming vegan can benefit themselves and the planet. We who care about the food we eat and the animals we live amongst have watched how over the years our compassionate approach to living has come from the margins to the centre.  Animal Aid has been at the forefront of this movement for forty years, so the time is right for us to mark their progress and our future with a grand, nationwide festival.  I believe the time is right for a real celebration of life. The time is right for The Vegan Festival of Britain.  

Benjamin Zephaniah
www.benjaminzephaniah.com

2016-10-21T14:46:41+00:00

Benjamin Zephaniah
www.benjaminzephaniah.com

People all over the country are beginning to understand how becoming vegan can benefit themselves and the planet. We who care about the food we eat and the animals we live amongst have watched how over the years our compassionate approach to living has come from the margins to the centre.  Animal Aid has been at the forefront of this movement for forty years, so the time is right for us to mark their progress and our future with a grand, nationwide festival.  I believe the time is right for a real celebration of life. The time is right for The Vegan Festival of Britain.  

Jamie Coombs, Managing Director, Natural Balance Foods (Nak’d and Trek bars)

We love Animal Aid and are delighted to join their 40th Birthday Bash!
Animal Aid is a pioneering and inspiring example of compassion in action.
Natural Balance Foods is honoured and proud to support this magnificent group of people and the noble cause they so heroically represent.
Happy Birthday, Animal Aid and thank you for all the profound goodness you do.

Jamie Coombs, Managing Director
Natural Balance Foods (Nak’d and Trek bars)
www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk

2016-10-24T11:41:03+00:00

Jamie Coombs, Managing Director
Natural Balance Foods (Nak’d and Trek bars)
www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk

We love Animal Aid and are delighted to join their 40th Birthday Bash! Animal Aid is a pioneering and inspiring example of compassion in action. Natural Balance Foods is honoured and proud to support this magnificent group of people and the noble cause they so heroically represent. Happy Birthday, Animal Aid and thank you for all the profound goodness you do.

Fry’s Family Foods

Fry’s are proud to be a supporter of Animal Aid, their 40 years of hard work and dedication to saving & protecting animals is exceptional. We are thrilled to be part of the Vegan Festival, here’s to another 40 years!

Fry’s Family Foods
www.fryfamilyfood.com

2016-10-26T10:34:57+00:00

Fry’s Family Foods
www.fryfamilyfood.com

Fry’s are proud to be a supporter of Animal Aid, their 40 years of hard work and dedication to saving & protecting animals is exceptional. We are thrilled to be part of the Vegan Festival, here’s to another 40 years!

Bute Island Foods (Scheeze)

Huge congratulations to Animal Aid on their 40th Anniversary. The Vegan Festival of Britain sounds like the perfect way to celebrate and we would love to support it. Keep up all the great work.

Bute Island Foods (Scheeze)
www.buteisland.com

2016-10-26T10:37:15+00:00

Bute Island Foods (Scheeze)
www.buteisland.com

Huge congratulations to Animal Aid on their 40th Anniversary. The Vegan Festival of Britain sounds like the perfect way to celebrate and we would love to support it. Keep up all the great work.

Adrian Ling, Managing Director, Plamil

Animal Aid have always had a unique, passionate and successful approach, so it comes as no surprise that The Vegan Festival of Britain is a new and exciting idea we can all get involved in. Often the biggest impact that individuals can have on reducing animal suffering is by using the commercial power they have in their own pocket when making a purchase. Purchasing Vegan is one of the most powerful contributions that can be made and the festival a wonderful way to promote Vegan.

Plamil will do all it can to support such a festival.

Adrian Ling, Managing Director, Plamil
www.plamilfoods.co.uk

2016-10-26T10:39:30+00:00

Adrian Ling, Managing Director, Plamil
www.plamilfoods.co.uk

Animal Aid have always had a unique, passionate and successful approach, so it comes as no surprise that The Vegan Festival of Britain is a new and exciting idea we can all get involved in. Often the biggest impact that individuals can have on reducing animal suffering is by using the commercial power they have in their own pocket when making a purchase. Purchasing Vegan is one of the most powerful contributions that can be made and the festival a wonderful way to promote Vegan. Plamil will do all it can to support such a festival.

Wills Vegan Shoes

Where do I begin with Animal Aid? From helping Wills Vegan Shoes before we even launched to being a source of inspiration and support when I turned vegan – to the crucial work you do everyday in the name of animal equality. Much love.

Wills Vegan Shoes
www.wills-vegan-shoes.com

2016-10-26T10:41:14+00:00

Wills Vegan Shoes
www.wills-vegan-shoes.com

Where do I begin with Animal Aid? From helping Wills Vegan Shoes before we even launched to being a source of inspiration and support when I turned vegan – to the crucial work you do everyday in the name of animal equality. Much love.

Tim Barford, Yaoh

Happy to see 'The Vegan Festival of Britain' come alive – we’ve been supporting vegan events for 15 years and think they are the best way to reach out to the public and help them consider veganism. Happy days

Tim Barford, Yaoh
www.yaoh.co.uk

2016-10-26T10:47:10+00:00

Tim Barford, Yaoh
www.yaoh.co.uk

Happy to see 'The Vegan Festival of Britain' come alive – we’ve been supporting vegan events for 15 years and think they are the best way to reach out to the public and help them consider veganism. Happy days

Ms Cupcake

Time to raise a cupckake, or two, to such an important organization on its 40th anniversary. What they have achieved for animals is extraordinary. We should all be very honoured and proud to have a team like Animal Aid fighting important campaigns and causes.

Ms Cupcake
www.mscupcake.co.uk

2016-10-26T10:49:02+00:00

Ms Cupcake
www.mscupcake.co.uk

Time to raise a cupckake, or two, to such an important organization on its 40th anniversary. What they have achieved for animals is extraordinary. We should all be very honoured and proud to have a team like Animal Aid fighting important campaigns and causes.

Booja Booja

Booja-Booja is delighted to support The Vegan Festival of Britain because we believe in kindness, respect and cruelty-free deliciousness.

Booja Booja
www.boojabooja.com

2016-10-26T10:54:24+00:00

Booja Booja
www.boojabooja.com

Booja-Booja is delighted to support The Vegan Festival of Britain because we believe in kindness, respect and cruelty-free deliciousness.

Moo Free Chocolates

Moo Free chocolates, as a manufacturer of vegan products, is absolutely passionate about helping animals. We are proud to support the hard work of everyone at and involved with Animal Aid.

Moo Free Chocolates
www.moofreechocolates.com

2016-10-26T10:58:57+00:00

Moo Free Chocolates
www.moofreechocolates.com

Moo Free chocolates, as a manufacturer of vegan products, is absolutely passionate about helping animals. We are proud to support the hard work of everyone at and involved with Animal Aid.

Mr Nice Pie

We are very happy to be part of this, with a fantastic organisation.

Mr Nice Pie
www.mrnicepie.co.uk

2016-10-26T11:00:46+00:00

Mr Nice Pie
www.mrnicepie.co.uk

We are very happy to be part of this, with a fantastic organisation.

Beauty Without Cruelty

Well done Animal Aid for providing an unequalled ethical message and building awareness of the need to be cruelty-free in all aspects of daily life

Beauty Without Cruelty
www.bwcshop.com

2016-11-10T15:17:11+00:00

Beauty Without Cruelty
www.bwcshop.com

Well done Animal Aid for providing an unequalled ethical message and building awareness of the need to be cruelty-free in all aspects of daily life

Ethical Superstore

Ethical Superstore are proud to be supporting the Vegan Festival of Britain! 


Ethical Superstore

www.ethicalsuperstore.com

2016-11-25T13:44:51+00:00

Ethical Superstore

www.ethicalsuperstore.com

Ethical Superstore are proud to be supporting the Vegan Festival of Britain! 

Lettices

Happy birthday, Animal Aid. The work Animal Aid has done over the 40 years and incredible commitment they have given is extraordinary and has paved the way for huge shifts and breakthroughs in the vegan community. What a fantastic thing to celebrate. Thank you, Animal Aid

Poppy Gosling, Lettices

http://www.lettices.com/

2016-11-28T15:33:52+00:00

Poppy Gosling, Lettices

http://www.lettices.com/

Happy birthday, Animal Aid. The work Animal Aid has done over the 40 years and incredible commitment they have given is extraordinary and has paved the way for huge shifts and breakthroughs in the vegan community. What a fantastic thing to celebrate. Thank you, Animal Aid

Vegan Store

A massive congratulations to Animal Aid on their 40th anniversary.

Animal Aid have changed the face of compassion in the UK. Always at the forefront of thought provoking campaigns that have changed many people's and animal's lives in last 40 years, their dedication to making the world a more humane place is beyond compare.

Vegan Store

veganstore.co.uk

2016-12-05T14:01:41+00:00

Vegan Store

veganstore.co.uk

A massive congratulations to Animal Aid on their 40th anniversary. Animal Aid have changed the face of compassion in the UK. Always at the forefront of thought provoking campaigns that have changed many people's and animal's lives in last 40 years, their dedication to making the world a more humane place is beyond compare.

Veggies Catering Campaign

Following 40 years of pioneering work by Animal Aid, supported for over 30 years by Veggies Catering Campaign, the Future is Vegan. The Vegan Festival of Britain invites all compassionate people to help bring about the just society essential for animals, other people and the planet.


Veggies Catering Campaign

www.veggies.org.uk

2016-12-07T16:18:40+00:00

Veggies Catering Campaign

www.veggies.org.uk

Following 40 years of pioneering work by Animal Aid, supported for over 30 years by Veggies Catering Campaign, the Future is Vegan. The Vegan Festival of Britain invites all compassionate people to help bring about the just society essential for animals, other people and the planet.

Animal Equality

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary. Many animals have been spared a lifetime of suffering thanks to your hard work and dedication.

Animal Equality

www.animalequality.net

2016-12-19T14:37:59+00:00

Animal Equality

www.animalequality.net

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary. Many animals have been spared a lifetime of suffering thanks to your hard work and dedication.

The Vegan Cakery

Raising much needed funds and awareness of animal charities and causes is the foundation on which The Vegan Cakery was built, so it’s a huge honour to support Animal Aid’s incredible work and the fantastic Vegan Festival of Britain celebrations. Huge congratulations on your 40th birthday, Animal Aid!

The Vegan Cakery

vegancakery.com

2016-12-19T14:40:34+00:00

The Vegan Cakery

vegancakery.com

Raising much needed funds and awareness of animal charities and causes is the foundation on which The Vegan Cakery was built, so it’s a huge honour to support Animal Aid’s incredible work and the fantastic Vegan Festival of Britain celebrations. Huge congratulations on your 40th birthday, Animal Aid!

Viva!

Viva! is thrilled to help celebrate Animal Aid's 40th Anniversary and support The Vegan Festival of Britain. Animal Aid remain as vital today as they were four decades ago. Much love and admiration from all at Viva!

Viva!

viva.org.uk

2016-12-21T11:32:30+00:00

Viva!

viva.org.uk

Viva! is thrilled to help celebrate Animal Aid's 40th Anniversary and support The Vegan Festival of Britain. Animal Aid remain as vital today as they were four decades ago. Much love and admiration from all at Viva!

Shambhu’s

‘Our congratulations & thanks to Animal Aid for your great work over the last 40 years!

Ever since our vegan journey began nearly 20 years ago, Animal Aid has been one of our key sources of inspiration and education. Over the years, we're proud to have been involved in Animal Aid's excellent school speaker network, and the inspiring Christmas Fayres.

We very much look forward to celebrating your incredible 40 years through what's sure to be a truly memorable Vegan Festival of Britain.’

Shambhu’s (Vegan catering and cookery classes)

shambhus.co.uk

2017-01-06T16:52:36+00:00

Shambhu’s (Vegan catering and cookery classes)

shambhus.co.uk

‘Our congratulations & thanks to Animal Aid for your great work over the last 40 years! Ever since our vegan journey began nearly 20 years ago, Animal Aid has been one of our key sources of inspiration and education. Over the years, we're proud to have been involved in Animal Aid's excellent school speaker network, and the inspiring Christmas Fayres. We very much look forward to celebrating your incredible 40 years through what's sure to be a truly memorable Vegan Festival of Britain.’

Vegan Organic Network

'Thank you for your work over the years and your support for up-and-coming vegan groups. Together we can bring an end to animal suffering. Long live the vegan revolution!'

Vegan Organic Network

veganorganic.net

2017-01-20T13:54:37+00:00

Vegan Organic Network

veganorganic.net

'Thank you for your work over the years and your support for up-and-coming vegan groups. Together we can bring an end to animal suffering. Long live the vegan revolution!'