RSPCA ‘shocked’ after animal activists target King Charles’ first official portrait

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The RSPCA has said it was “shocked” after animal rights activists targeted King Charles’ first official portrait by pasting the animated character Wallace over his face.

At 12pm on Tuesday, June 11 two supporters of Animal Rising entered the Philip Mould gallery in central London and proceeded to affix posters onto the painting of King Charles II.

One poster overlaid the King’s face with Wallace, from the popular Aardman stop-motion, whilst another was a speech bubble reading “No Cheese Gromit. Look At All This Cruelty On RSPCA Farms!”

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This was the first official portrait of the King, by artist Jonathan Yeo, since the coronation, which was unveiled at Buckingham Palace last month.

Animal rights activists have targeted King Charles’ first official portrait by pasting the animated character Wallace over his face.
Animal rights activists have targeted King Charles’ first official portrait by pasting the animated character Wallace over his face.
Animal rights activists have targeted King Charles’ first official portrait by pasting the animated character Wallace over his face. | Animal Rising

A spokesperson for Animal Rising said the action highlighted alleged cruelty on RSPCA Assured farms the group had exposed over the previous weekend.

A video posted on social media site X shows two protesters approaching the painting before attaching the posters using paint rollers, then walking away.

The group said the posters were affixed using water sprayed onto the bag of them, and are easily removable without causing damage to the painting.

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Daniel Juniper, former Early Years Practitioner said: “With King Charles being such a big fan of Wallace and Gromit, we couldn’t think of a better way to draw his attention to the horrific scenes on RSPCA Assured farms.

“Even though we hope this is amusing to His Majesty, we also call on him to seriously reconsider if he wants to be associated with the awful suffering across farms being endorsed by the RSPCA.

“Charles has made it clear he is sensitive to the suffering of animals in UK farms; now is the perfect time for him to step up and call on the RSPCA to drop the Assured Scheme and tell the truth about animal farming.”

The report, released by Animal Rising on Sunday, contains findings from investigations on 45 farms across the UK featuring chickens, pigs, salmon, and trout.

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Spokesperson Orla Coghlan said: "Just as Feathers McGraw fooled Wallace into a bank heist, the RSPCA has been fooling the British public into thinking their factory farms are - in any way - an acceptable place for animals to live. It's clear from the scenes across 45 RSPCA-assured farms that there's no kind way to farm animals."

An RSPCA spokesperson said:“We welcome scrutiny of our work, but we cannot condone illegal activity of any kind. Our staff and volunteers work extremely hard rescuing, caring for, and speaking up for animals.

“Animal Rising’s sustained activity is distracting from our focus on the work that really matters – helping thousands of animals every day.”

“We remain confident that our RSPCA Assured scheme is the best way to help farmed animals right now, while campaigning to change their lives in the future.”

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The spokesperson added that any concerns about welfare on RSPCA Assured certified farms were taken extremely seriously and an investigation had already been launched.

“RSPCA Assured is acting swiftly to look into these allegations. After receiving the footage on Sunday, RSPCA Assured has launched an immediate, urgent investigation. We have responded openly and transparently to Animal Rising’s challenges to our farming work,” the RSPCA spokesperson said.

Animal Rising describes itself as a social movement that calls for the transition to a secure and sustainable plant-based food system, alongside a mass rewilding programme.

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