OneKind is a campaigning animal welfare charity based in Edinburgh and operating worldwide. The organisation works through high-profile public campaigns, political lobbying, investigations, formal research and public education.
The organisation was originally founded as the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection, in 1911 by Nina Douglas-Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton. Kay Douglas-Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton, widow of the 15th Duke, remains active in the organisation. The group is currently run by Chief Executive Officer John Brady. It was renamed as Advocates for Animals in 1990, as part of a rebranding campaign that included a new logo and increased online activity
In 2006 the group criticised the Scottish Executive for "putting out a mixed message" on livestock management techniques. A spokesperson for Advocates for Animals described techniques such as castration, branding and declawing as "painful mutilations" and urged the Executive to review whether these should be permitted. Earlier that month, Advocates for Animals had called for the Duke of Argyll and Chivas Regal to end their involvement with the annual World Elephant Polo Tournament, a sport they described as "exploiting animals." Chivas defended their sponsorship of the event, arguing the elephants "are well treated and have responsible owners."
OneKind adopts a pragmatic stance on animal welfare issues, choosing to engage with legislators and those involved in animal experimentation to further their cause. The charity is vocal in its opposition to extreme forms of protest and publicly distances itself from acts of violence carried out by animal rights extremists.
Advocates for Animals was one of a few anti-vivisection groups to contribute to the formation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Former director Les Ward described it as "one of the better laws" in comparison to other countries' legislation, while acknowledging that "most scientists in the UK, were they not to have the protection of the 1986 Act, would find themselves in a court of law for cruelty to animals." Ward also served on the Animal Procedures Committee, a statutory requirement of the act.
In 1991 the group released a critique of primate experiments in the UK, leading to the laboratories mentioned in the report being firebombed by extreme animal liberationists. In response the group restricted the release of a follow up report in 1992, urging editors to use "discretion by not identifying the laboratories or scientists concerned."
In 1992, after a television debate, Advocates for Animals' director Les Ward and Colin Blakemore, a strong advocate of animal experimentation, formed the Boyd Group, a bipartisan forum to discuss issues relating to animal experimentation. Advocates for Animals claims this approach led to a joint effort by the scientific and animal welfare communities to ban the testing of cosmetics on animals.
The group's moderate stance has drawn criticism from within the animal rights community. The National Anti-Vivisection Society described the Boyd Group as a "public relations exercise" and the British Anti-Vivisection Association described Ward's engagement with Blakemore as "trading the very premise by which the genuine [anti-vivisection] movement exists, in return for an end to cosmetic testing." Ward justified his position, telling Nature, "I want to see the total end of animal experimentation, but I am not stupid enough to think that it is going to happen overnight."
Ward has since withdrawn from the Boyd Group, believing it had become "stalemated", but in 2006 continued to defend its usefulness, calling it "one of the few places where moderate activists and moderate scientists sat down and talked things over."
Advocates for Animals director, Les Ward also wanted the Glasgow Zoo to be closed down because of the poor condition of the park.
The primatologist Jane Goodall was the president of Advocates for Animals from 1998 until 2008. In May of that year, she described Edinburgh Zoo's new primate enclosure as a "wonderful facility" where monkeys "are probably better off [than] living in the wild in an area like Budongo, where one in six gets caught in a wire snare, and countries like Congo, where chimpanzees, monkeys and gorillas are shot for food commercially." This is in conflict with Advocates for Animals' position on captive animals, who stated "She's entitled to her opinion, but our position isn't going to change. We oppose the keeping of animals in captivity for entertainment." In June 2008 Goodall confirmed that she had resigned the presidency of the organisation, citing her busy schedule and explaining, "I just don't have time for them."
- OneKind - Official site