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Old poster warning people of dogs going missing and being used for vivisection

In the beginning

‘Twas almost Christmas 1911 in Edinburgh. A time of giving and extending kindness to all. Yet there was a dark side to the city. One by one, animals disappeared from the streets, appearing weeks later, sometimes missing limbs. These poor animals were being used in research experiments. The plight of animals had not gone unnoticed by two sisters from Edinburgh. They were the Ivory sisters, and they were determined to end vivisection and prevent the suffering it inflicted upon animals. Together, they founded the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection (SSPV). And that’s where OneKind's story began. Will you help us write the next positive chapter for animals by supporting our Christmas appeal today?

Christmas Past

Vivisected Jack (pictured in the main banner) was an Irish terrier who went missing in early December 1913. His guardian searched everywhere but couldn’t find him. Thankfully, in early January, Jack returned, but unable to walk on one of his legs and looking very sorry for himself. With a large scar on his leg, and a new collar, with the words “Surgical Department”, the owner believed that he had been in an accident and treated at a surgery. Jack’s guardian later discovered the truth. He had been sold to the university (who believed he was a stray) and operated on - having the bones in his legs separated and a metal plate screwed in. Jack was confined for five weeks, until he escaped on 14.01.14.

Campaigning for animals for over a century

For over 100 years, OneKind has been passionately advocating for animals. From holding our first Dog’s Bazaar event to the banning of wild animals in travelling circuses, we have achieved greater protection for many animals with your support. Yet, parts of our past still haunt us today and we are still fighting for the same protections as our predecessors. Our small team continue with the same drive and passion as our founders.

Vivisection

Anti vivisection society touring caravan

Our founding purpose was to campaign against vivisection, as animal testing was then called. However, the organisation has fought for general animal welfare around that core aim. I’m sure our founders, the Ivory sisters, would be astonished that we are still continuing this same fight. Whilst beloved companions are no longer taken from the streets, animals are still bred for painful experiments.

Over the years, our work has included tactics still used today. SSPV knew that campaigning for small steps helps more animals faster than purely fighting for abolition. We had a touring caravan in the early days, raising awareness about the horrors of vivisection. This was upgraded to a mobile cinema in the fifties, reaching thousands of viewers. There were a series of dog’s bazaars to raise money, beginning in 1912, and a ‘tail wagger’s club’ campaigning for dogs to become exempt from vivisection. Exposing the truth and educating the public remain invaluable to gaining support.

Our aim to encourage alternatives for research isn’t a new concept. In 1968, we set up the St Andrew Animal Fund, with other organisations, raising funds for research into humane research alternatives. 

Our recent Target Zero campaign with Cruelty Free International and Animal Free Research UK, achieved over 100,000 signatures, prompting a debate in Westminster.  The campaign calls for the Government to phase out to animal experimentation in the UK. There were more than 3 million experiments on animals in 2021, an increase of 6% from 2020, which is unacceptable. While our founders didn’t achieve a ban in their lifetime, we hope we will deliver their aim within ours.

Times of crisis

The organisation has survived the two World Wars and helped others financially during wartime, including the Scottish SPCA Fund for Sick and Wounded Horses and the Scottish National Institution for Blinded Sailors and Soldiers. Recently, you have supported us through the Covid-19 pandemic. This demonstrates that people are extremely passionate about improving the lives of animals, even during very difficult times. 

Partnerships and politics

banner with

In the 1950s our work expanded to cover cruelty of all types. In 1978, we worked with other organisations on a ‘Putting Animals into Politics’ campaign around the general election. The key concerns included ‘intensive animal husbandry’, the ‘export of live farm animals’, and ‘blood sports and wildlife protection’. These are issues we continue to work on. Our recent More For Scotland’s Animals campaigns, around the last two Scottish elections, similarly asked political parties to prioritise animal welfare.

Intensive animal husbandry and the export of live farm animals

In 1994 our undercover investigation of ‘livestock’ markets revealed that animal welfare laws were being breached and cruelty towards animals was common. It sent shock waves through the farming community and received massive media attention. 

More recently, major campaigns such as the End the Cage Age campaign, which we were involved in, have made progress towards ending intensive animal farming. The Scottish and UK governments are now considering phasing out farmed animal cages. In the past year, OneKind’s lobbying meant that animal welfare is prioritised in the Good Food Nation Act.

Advocates for Animals demo against live exportsThe upcoming Agriculture Bill provides another opportunity to improve the lives of farmed animals. We are worried that opportunity isn’t being taken and are working hard to change that. 

In a major success, our ongoing work, alongside others, to end live exports has paid off, with the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments agreeing to ban this horrendous practice. We will keep working hard to make sure this promise is delivered. It is good to know that while it sometimes takes years, our determined efforts on issues like this do work in the end. 

Blood sports and wildlife protection

We were instrumental in bringing about the fox hunting ban in 2002. Although this was a huge achievement, lobbying by those who wished to continue hunting meant that the law wasn’t strong enough and had loopholes which have allowed fox hunting to continue. We are working right now to influence a new Bill that aims to close those loopholes, to try to make sure this time it is strong enough. 

We have also been working on wildlife protection for years. For example, in 2002 we began rescuing hedgehogs from the Uists, where they were being killed, and relocating them to the mainland. The Uist Hedgehog Rescue coalition, consisting of us, British Hedgehog Preservation Society and Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue, had the support of celebrities including Joanna Lumley and Brian May, as well as leading animal welfare conservation organisations. We convinced those running the conservation project, who were killing hedgehogs to protect wild birds, to let us relocate them instead.

 Just two years ago we achieved a tremendous success when mountain hares were made a protected species, ending the mass culls we had been campaigning against for several years. 

Our current work to protect wild animals is centered around trying to get the Scottish Government and others to use the 7 principles for ethical wildlife ‘control’, which would make sure that all decisions around wildlife ‘management’ are based on evidence and ethics and prioritise animal welfare. There are many changes coming in the way wild animals are ‘managed’ in Scotland. Some, such as the potential for a real fox hunting ban and the licensing of grouse moors, have come about due to our work. We will keep working to increase protections for wild animals. 

We hope our founders would be pleased with the progress which has been made for animals over the years, and we will continue to work hard until all animals have the protection they deserve.

Christmas yet to come

Where might we be in another 100 years? Greyhound and horse racing may well be a thing of the past. Archaic traps such as snares may well be banned, and animals won’t be used for human entertainment. Animals will be valued as deserving of life in their own right, not based upon their usefulness to humans. The work that the OneKind team achieve now, thanks to your support, will carve our future work and pave the way for more positive outcomes for animals. 

All of our work, over the past 111 years and today, is funded by your generosity. It really is inspiring what we can achieve together. We understand that we are all facing challenging times once again but if you can, please donate towards our appeal and help us write the next positive chapter for animals.

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Read more about OneKind's history