AIA AGM 2022 with Guest Speaker, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

We are delighted to welcome Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg as our guest speaker at this year’s AGM on Thursday 17th November at 18.00GMT on Zoom.

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg is a regular speaker on BBC Radio 4’s Prayer for the Day and Thought for the Day.  He is Rabbi of the New North London Synagogue and has taken a leading role in the development of the Masorti Movement for traditional non-fundamentalist Judaism in England. In 2008 he was appointed Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism in the UK. He is a President of the Council of Christians and Jews. He is a co-founder of Eco-Synagogue and deeply engaged in environmental issues and is closely involved in supporting refugees. Further interests include pastoral work, hospice care, and literature, especially poetry. He teaches and speaks widely.  For further details, see his website here.

The AGM will be held by Zoom during Interfaith Week, on Thursday 17th November, starting with our guest speaker at 18.00 GMT – all are welcome.  The AGM will commence at 19.30 GMT and will be for AIA members only. 

Please email to register for the talk and/or the AGM.

Interfaith Celebration for Animals 2022

Interfaith Celebration for Animals 2022 

Ahimsa and Extending the Golden Rule to All Life

Saturday 19th November 2022, time 19.00 GMT – by Zoom.

This year’s Interfaith Celebration for Animals will be celebrating Ahimsa and Extending the Golden Rule to all Life and will be led by AIA Chair, Rev. Feargus O’Connor. The celebration will include talks and readings from all the major faiths concerning our care for all of God’s Creation, and will also celebrate the 200th birthday of social reformer, suffragist and anti-vivisection campaigner, Frances Power Cobbe, the founder of the BUAV and NAVS.

Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Please email Barbara at to receive the Zoom link. 

If you wish to make a collection donation, please donate to Animal Free Research UK quoting the Cobbe/ SchweitzerUniversal Kinship Appeal, for humane animal research. 

AIA Join the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting at Westminster

AIA directors Judith Wilkings and Dr Christina Nellist joined the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting’s Westminster Hall’s reception and launch of “Trophy Hunting & Britain: the Case for a Ban” on Wednesday 29th June 2022. Judith gives this account of the impact of this ground-breaking event.

by Judith Wilkings

Sir Roger Gale MP was Chair.  Eduardo Gonçalves introduced the speakers who included RT Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; H.E. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President, Botswana (2008-2018); Snr Elder Boniface of the Maasai; Kris Verduycht from the Belgium Parliament; Dr Adam Cruise, a leading South African academic & researcher; Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE Founder-The Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace sent a message via film.

Eduardo Gonçalves had organised the event to coincide with the 7th year anniversary of the death of Cecil, the lion who was killed on 2nd July 2015 by Walter Palmer, an American dentist, using a bow and arrow.

Dr Jane Goodall’s message spoke of Trophy hunters killing for pleasure. Destroying animals for bragging rights supposedly to demonstrate some misguided sense of fearlessness and courage. She warned that the hunting lobby will work hard to preserve the status quo and if we want to maintain our reputation as an animal loving nation, all hunting trophies should be banned from Britain. Time is of the essence as many species killed by trophy hunters are close to extinction.

RT Hon George Eustice MP spoke of the Bill’s progress through Parliament and the Government’s commitment to pass the Bill. It will be back in the House of Commons on 25th November 2022 for a second reading. He thanked the former President of Botswana, H.E. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, for his time the day before, when they’d had a long discussion about trophy hunting.

Kris Verduycht from the Belgium Parliament said that the Belgium Parliament had voted unanimously to ban Trophy hunting imports from entering Belgium and 91% of the public supported the decision.

H.E. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, spoke about his time as President of Botswana. They had banned trophy hunting. They instinctively knew photographic tourism would preserve nature and lead to a revival of many species. During his time in office, they introduced 300 to 400 rhinos into the wild. He said that nature tourism was the only way forward to conserve the wildlife.

Snr Elder Boniface of the Maasai explained how Maasai warriors used to hunt a mature lion to prove their warriorhood, but they realised they could benefit from wildlife by conserving it. Furthermore, they needed to stop all traditional and cultural activities that involved killing an animal. Now the community receives a share of the revenue collected from Maasai Mara National Reserve. It uses the money to educate the children from the local villages. Boniface spoke of trophy hunting as a terrible, cruel and barbaric idea and warned of the misinformation campaign used by the hunting organisations to promote and protect their deadly trade.

Dr Adam Cruise also warned about the hunting organisations who rely on two pillars to mislead. That it improves African communities and gives conservation benefits. He says both are a distortion of the truth. His undercover work in Namibia, which purports to support wildlife and rural communities, has shown that wildlife numbers are decreasing and the local community is kept in a cycle of impoverishment. Dr Cruise spoke of letters being sent to MPs by organisations claiming to represent ordinary African people. ‘Our research also suggests that some of the supposed signatories did not actually sign the letter.’

All of the speakers cautioned that Trophy hunters are depleting the gene pool of lions, rhino, elephants, giraffes’ polar bears to name a few. They kill the largest animals which are crucial for the breeding of the species. They urged MPs, Ministers and NGOs gathered in the room to be aware of the power, money and influence of the hunting industry & Gun Club Lobby. Eduardo Gonçalves said that The Times revealed Britain’s pro hunting lobby is funded by top allies of Vladimir Putin. The Guardian reports the American gun lobby is behind the campaigns to block a British trophy ban. He warned of a Smart Ban something that the lobbyists would use to derail the Bill going through Parliament.

In the Executive Summary I was given at the launch, under the name of Inclusive Conservation Group, I read an extract from The Safari Club International-funded strategy document to deceive British Ministers and MP’s. ‘SHAPE, INFORM, INFLUENCE, MANIPULATE, MISLEAD, EXPOSE, DIMINISH, PROMOTE, DECEIVE, COERCE, DETER, MOBILIZE, CONVINCE.’

“With the decline of wildlife worldwide, and many species approaching extinction, all caused by man, how can there be justification in trophy hunting? How can any government say they are fighting poaching whilst allowing trophy hunting? I call upon those countries from where these promoters of extinction come from to ban the import of trophies.”

 H.E. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President, Botswana (2008-2018)

Too Many Animals Still Used in Research – It’s Time for Change.

As the UK Home Office publishes its Annual Statistics on Scientific Procedures on Living Animals, AIA Director, Dr Andre Menache comments on the need to replace them with 21st century human based test methods.

Dr Andre Menache

Animal experiments have been cleverly sold to the public as a “necessary evil” by some in the scientific research community. For about a century, this argument was accepted in good faith as being truthful, both by the public and the government. However, based on our current scientific understanding of living organisms and the complexity of living beings, it is painfully obvious that animal experimentation constitutes a perversion of science in the present day.

How are animals used in science ?

The above pie chart indicates roughly how animals are used in science :

  1. Education and training (undergraduate and post graduate university studies) :  5%
  2. Regulatory requirements for marketing purposes (animal testing of pharmaceutical drugs, industrial chemicals, etc.) :  25%
  3. Scientific research (basic aka fundamental research, which in simple terms refers to scientific curiosity ; and applied research, which in simple terms means goal oriented research) :  70%
  1. The replacement of animals in education and training is a huge success story. Most, if not all animal use in this category can and has been replaced with humane alternatives (see for example the work of
  2. The replacement of animals in the context of regulatory testing is an area where progress can happen very rapidly once public opinion and consumer awareness are mobilised. For example, shareholders in the pharmaceutical industry need to be made aware of the fact that animal tests are conducted more for legal reasons than scientific ones AND that the pharmaceutical industry has the means but simply lacks the political will to replace animal testing with 21st century human based test methods. Just as shareholders in the energy industry are demanding an end to the use of fossil fuels, so too we can expect a shareholder revolt within the pharmaceutical industry once the facts on animal testing are exposed.
  3. The replacement of animals in scientific research (basic and applied research) remains the biggest challenge to overcome because our current research paradigm is still based on 19th century scientific dogma. However, once the transition to human based test methods becomes established in the field of regulatory testing (as soon as 2025), this will greatly accelerate the end of animal research in general.

The following short video shows the procedure that beagle dogs endure up to three times a day for up to 90  days as part of the regulatory requirements for testing new pharmaceutical drugs. The drug is passed directly into the stomach via a tube. The dogs receive no anaesthetic or analgesic. It sometimes happens that the drug accidentally passes into the lungs instead of the stomach, which can result in pneumonia. At the end of the 90 day test period, the dogs will be killed and their organs examined.

If you are a shareholder in a pharmaceutical company which still hasn’t changed to human relevant test methods, please raise this issue with them. You may consider making other shareholders aware of this and proposing a resolution to end animal testing at their AGM.

Trophy Hunting Imports – Let’s Get the Ban Done!

We have some GOOD NEWS from The Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting as we finally have a date for the bill to ban trophy hunting imports. The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill was officially listed in Parliament on 15th June and will come back to Parliament in earnest on 25th November.  Although it will be the Government’s legislation, it will be presented as a Private Member’s Bill by Henry Smith MP, a longstanding friend of the Campaign. While a bill in government time was the Campaign’s first preference, this does, however, mean that the logjam is finally broken and the legislation will now start moving forward. At last! Now we just need to ensure that we WIN!

Please Support the Campaign

On 16th June, we recorded the webinar (above) presented by Eduardo Goncalves, Director of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and co-hosted by our new Patron, actor Peter Egan, a longstanding supporter of the Campaign. Eduardo’s presentation is inspirational as he is incredibly knowledgeable on the topic, having undertaken considerable investigation into this enormously devastating activity.

Please watch and share this most informative video and do all you can to support the campaign at this critical moment as the Bill passes through Parliament.

Further information can be found on the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting’s website.

The Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting – Invitation to Webinar

Join us on Thursday 16th June at 7.30pm BST when we will be hosting a webinar by Eduardo Goncalves, Founder and CEO of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.

British trophy hunters are shooting lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, giraffes and dozens of other species – many of them at risk of extinction. They are able to do so LEGALLY – because loopholes in conservation laws allow them to shoot these animals for fun and keepsakes, even if they are endangered. The scale of the slaughter is extraordinary, yet largely unknown. A trophy hunter kills an animal every three minutes. The trophy hunting industry fuels this by awarding prizes to hunters who shoot animals from more than 100 different species. Some hunters have single-handedly killed thousands of animals. Nine out of ten British voters want it banned NOW. So why doesn’t the UK Government act? And what can we do to help end this cruel and callous so-called ‘sport’?

To register for the webinar, email and you will be sent a Zoom link.

Open Letter to Boris Johnson on Animal Welfare U-Turn

The Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP PM/the Rt. Hon George Eustice MP, Minister
at DEFRA/ the Lord Goldsmith:

17th May 2022

Dear Sirs,

I write on behalf of The Animal Interfaith Alliance, an international alliance of faith groups founded in Britain concerned about the welfare of animals.  Our member organisations and individual members include Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.  We are all united by our common concern for animals, based on our various faiths. Our member organisations are listed here.

Our members are extremely concerned that, after repeated promises, the
Government has dropped plans to bring in a ban on imports of foie gras
and fur, and has apparently also abandoned the excellent Animals Abroad
proposed legislation. Promoting tourism which involves cruelty to
animals, amongst which, elephant riding and other intrusive practices,
has a deplorable effect on the lives of captive animals overseas and
this Government could do something to prevent it.

We are close colleagues of Duncan McNair, Chief Executive Officer of the
excellent organisation Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) and the reports
he brings back of the cruel ‘training’ to make elephants, when still
calves,  submissive for exploitation are truly horrifying.

Please see

We contend that the Government, representing a nation of animal lovers
as we are frequently described by ministers, has a moral duty to take

We also understand, for the first time, that the Government has proposed
a Bill which would permit the use of genetically edited farm animals. We
consider this – something which had been previously banned in this
country – a dangerous step which would cause yet more suffering to
defenceless creatures we already exploit in a myriad ways.

Please could you also confirm that practices such as the live exports of
animals for slaughter, keeping primates as pets and the cruel puppy
import trade are still on course to be banned? We have been asking for
years for such legislation to be enacted, and the animals should not
have to wait any longer for you to make good your repeated promises.

You are surely aware, from the amount of correspondence all MPs receive
on the matter of animal welfare, that a large majority of British people
want to see this Government pass more laws designed to improve animal
welfare and protect animals from cruelty – not to abandon the promises
they have repeatedly made.

According to the RSPCA, 77% of voters want to see the Government ban the
importation of animal products with production methods already banned in
the UK, including fur.  It is not consistent to ban the production, but
then allow companies to profit from the imports of cruelty inflicted in
other countries.

Finally, in April 2022 MRP poll shows 85% want a law to ban UK adverts
for foreign tourism practices that ‘train’ elephants and other species
by severe abuse we would not countenance in this country.

A significant proportion of the electorate is out of tune with some
Government ministers. You will recall that some ministers have described
animal welfare as a ‘peripheral’ issue. They must be disregarding the
large amount of correspondence they receive, as MPs, from constituents
who consider the welfare and indeed rights of animals not to be abused,
neglected or cruelly exploited is extremely important to them and the
way they intend to vote.

Please will you let us know why all this legislation has been abandoned, as that is helpful for us in our future campaigning, and also ensure us that it will be re-introduced as soon as possible?

Yours sincerely,

Marian Hussenbux – International Campaigns Secretary

Heartbreak as UK Government Drops Promise to Protect Animals in Queen’s Speech

AIA and its member organisations are appalled that the UK Government has dropped a number of its animal welfare plans from the Queen’s speech. 

These include bans on the import of fur and foie gras (the production of which are already banned within the UK), a ban on advertising animal tourism practices involving cruelty, such as elephant riding, and the imports of trophies from hunting.  These were to be addressed in the Animals Abroad Bill, now dropped.

This is a complete betrayal of animals and the public who are overwhelmingly of the opinion that laws should be passed to protect animals. Recent national polling from the #DontBetrayAnimals campaign shows British voters want to see the Government deliver on its promise to protect animals.

  • Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents want to see this Government pass more laws designed to improve animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty,
  • More than three quarters (77%) want to see the Government ban the importation of animal products with production methods already banned in the UK, including fur.
  • An April 2022 MRP poll shows 85% want a law to ban UK adverts for foreign tourism practices that “train” elephants and other species by severe abuse.

AIA are writing to the Government to express our dismay and to ask for these important animal welfare issues to be re-instated on the legislative agenda. Please write to your MP.

Notes on Polling Data

  • *The polling was run on the Focaldata platform. Data was collected from a nationally representative sample of 10,018 adults between 11th and 20th April 2022. Using the polling data, Focaldata completed a constituency-level analysis using MRP modelling.
  • Over three quarters (77%) of voters think UK Government should ban the importation of animal products, such as fur, where farming and production methods are banned in the UK, including:
    • 82% of women and 72% of men
    • 61% of 18 – 24 year olds, 73% of 25-36 year olds, 76% 35 – 44 year olds, 82% of 45 – 54 year olds, 82% 55 – 64 year olds, 81% of 65+
  • The MRP polling analysis estimates support amongst:
    • Over three quarters (78%) of the 10, 15, and 20 most marginal Conservative-held seats
    • Almost three quarters (74%) of Red Wall voters
    • Over three quarters (79%) of voters in the Cabinet’s constituencies
    • 15 Cabinet members with 80%+ support are: Dominic Raab, Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, Kwasi Kwarteng, Alok Sharma, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Therese Coffey, Nadhim Zahawi, George Eustice, Brandon Lewis, Chris Heaton-Harris, Suella Braverman, Kit Malthouse, Michelle Donelan, Jacob Rees-Mogg.
  • Almost three quarters (72%) of voters would like to see the UK Government pass more laws designed to improve animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty, including:
    • 75% of women and 69% of men
    • 66% of 18 – 24 year olds, 75% of 25 – 34 year olds, 74% of 35 – 44 year olds, 74% of 45 – 55 year olds, 73% of 55 – 64 year olds, 69% of 65+

The MRP polling analysis estimates support amongst:

  • Over three quarters (72%) of the 1-0,15 and 20 most marginal Conservative held seats
    • Almost three quarters (70%) of Red Wall voters
    • Almost three quarters (72%) of voters in the Cabinet’s constituencies

Read our open letter to Boris Johnson here:

Open Letter to Boris Johnson on Animal Welfare U-Turn