The Put Animals into Politics campaign was run by the General Election Co-ordinating Committee for Animal Protection (GECCAP) and was launched in 1978 in preparation for the 1979 general election.

GECCAP was formed from the five joint consultative bodies which had been formed in the Animal Welfare Year of 1976. SSPV was represented on this committee, and they wrote to the five UK political parties, stating two main principles which the parties were asked to accept, along with six key areas of concern:


  1. Animal welfare and protection is a responsibility of government and should not be consigned to the hazards of the private members’ Bill procedure.
  2. The establishment of a Standing Royal Commission on Animal Protection. 

Key concerns (in no particular order): 

  1. The welfare and protection of horses.
  2. Intensive animal husbandry.
  3. Dogs in the community.
  4. Experiments on living animals.
  5. Blood sports and wildlife protection.
  6. The export of live farmed animals. 


Campaign literature

50,000 copies of the Putting Animals into Politics campaign brochure were sent out through animal welfare societies and branches to members of public who had responded to the campaign, as well as hundreds of thousands of single page ‘throwaway’ leaflets and posters.

Party conferences

GECCAP was represented at the three major political party (Liberal, Labour, and Conservative) conferences in September and October 1978 with an information stand and fringe meetings.

GECCAP representatives at Conservative Party conference.

Press and media

The campaign achieved considerable publicity in the press and media, and it was noted that a number of organisations and journals which had a vested interest in the exploitation of animals came out on the defensive as a result of what they obviously considered to be a very determined and well-organised campaign. 

Putting animals into politics brochure.


All MPs received a copy of the Putting Animals into Politics campaign brochure as well as a personal letter from GECCAP Chairman Lord Houghton. Lord Houghton also spoke in the House of Lords about the campaign, noting that many members of the public had written to thank him for launching the campaign and that it had the support of sixty voluntary organisations.

Party responses

The Labour Party responded to the campaign with their policy document Living Without Cruelty – Labour’s Charter for Animal Protection which could be bought from the GECCAP office for 45p. This is noted as being a comprehensive document which covered a wide range of animal welfare issues. 

The Liberal Party passed two animal welfare resolutions at its November council meeting. These included accepting the two principles of the GECCAP and a call for action on a range of animal welfare issues. 

The SNP had a meeting of representatives and accepted that the government had a responsibility when it came to animal welfare and that a Standing Committee or Commission should be established. 

It was noted that even when these were party policy, they may not be included in their election manifestos, and therefore readers must contact their MPs to insist that animal welfare be included. 

SSPV supporter help

The SSPV asked its supporters to help distribute leaflets and posters, and that they attend political meetings to insist animal welfare is included in manifestos. They also gave advice for supporters writing to the press. 

GECCAP representative Clive Hollands on ATV programme Left, Right and Centre.


TV and radio broadcasts

The secretary of GECCAP, Clive Hollands, took part in various TV and radio broadcasts and it was felt that the most useful of the programmes he was involved in, from a vivisection point of view, was the BBC show Man Alive, which despite not showing the full extent of what happens in laboratories, was reported that the scientists came across as ‘Frankensteins’ and unconvincing. 

Campaign success

The GECCAP ended in May 1979 when a new Conservative government was elected, but it was stated that the Put Animals into Politics campaign must continue to hold the new government to account and ensure that their manifesto pledges on animal welfare were honoured. The campaign was considered a success as, for the first time, all three main parties included reference to animal welfare and protection in their General Election manifestos and, due to the campaign, there had been considerable activity in Westminster relating to animal welfare.
The Conservative government announced in July 1979 that it would appoint a Farm Animal Welfare Council and an Advisory Committee on the administration of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876.