Animal Rising: Watch as King Charles' portrait vandalised by animal activists - in protest against RSPCA

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The startlingly red portrait raised eyebrows when it was first unveiled last month, and is now raising eyebrows once again.

King Charles’ first official portrait has been targeted by animal rights protesters, who have pasted the face of Wallace - from Wallace & Gromit - over His Majesty’s.

The portrait, by London artist Jonathan Yeo, was first unveiled last month, and attracted international attention over its surprising appearance. It has been on public display in the Philip Mould gallery in Pall Mall since. But on Tuesday (11 June) protest group Animal Rising said two of its supporters entered the gallery, and stuck posters onto the painting at around midday.

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One poster overlaid the King’s face with that of Wallace, from the popular British stop-motion production, whilst another was a speech bubble reading ‘No Cheese, Gromit. Look At All This Cruelty On RSPCA Farms!’ In a statement, the group said the “comedic” and “light-hearted” action was designed to bring attention to its “damning” investigation of 45 RSPCA Assured farms - where they say they found serious animal welfare breaches including dead and dying baby chickens, dead pigs left in farm walkways, and salmon being eaten alive by sea lice.

The portrait has been overlaid with an image of Wallace from Wallace & Gromit (Photo: Animal Rising/Supplied)The portrait has been overlaid with an image of Wallace from Wallace & Gromit (Photo: Animal Rising/Supplied)
The portrait has been overlaid with an image of Wallace from Wallace & Gromit (Photo: Animal Rising/Supplied) | Animal Rising/Supplied

Animal Rising say they want the RSPCA to drop its farm welfare scheme, and they are calling on the King to end his support of the charity until it does. King Charles is currently the RSPCA’s royal patron. .

One of the protesters, named as Daniel Juniper, 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,” he continued. “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.”

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An RSPCA spokesperson said the charity was “shocked” by the vandalism of their patron’s portrait. “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,” they said. “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.”

The higher welfare standards required by the scheme had made lives better for millions of animals, the RSPCA continued. “It is the difference between a hen spending her life in a cage, or not. A mother pig giving birth in a farrowing crate, or not. Pigs having comfortable bedding to sleep on, or not. It means salmon have compulsory veterinary health welfare plans, and stocking density is half that seen in America. An independent review of RSPCA Assured in 2021 found it was making a ‘positive and significant impact on improving the lives of 136 million animals a year in the UK’.”

The spokesperson added that any concerns about RSPCA Assured certified farms were taken extremely seriously. “After receiving the footage [from Animal Rising] 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. While we understand that Animal Rising, like us, want the best for animals, their activity is a distraction and a challenge to the work we are all doing to create a better world for every animal.”

NationalWorld has also approached the Philip Mould Gallery and the Metropolitan Police for for comment.

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