January 2022, Dr Andrew Kelly

As the new Director of Freedom for Animals I wanted to introduce myself to all those who care deeply for animals and are keen supporters of our campaigns. As a small charity that takes on big issues for animals, I know how crucial the backing of fellow animal activists, donors and fundraisers are to making change possible.

I look forward to getting to know you all more, but for now let me tell you a little bit about myself. 

I have been passionate about animals and their protection all my life. I have always been interested in nature and as a child spent many happy days in the countryside getting close to nature and watching birds. I was amazed by the diversity of species of birds in my local area and wanted to get to know everything about them.

I focused my studies on animals, securing a degree in Zoology and a Phd in Ecology. Over a number of years I have been fortunate to work for some great organisations and alongside some amazing people in my work for animals. I have worked on campaigns to ban fur farming, ban hare coursing, end factory farming, protect animals exploited in the pet industry, used for sport, scientific research, and hunting. 

Most relevant to the campaigns of Freedom for Animals, I have spent many years campaigning to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Whilst working as the Chief Executive at the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) in Ireland (my most recent role where I spent 7 years), I was delighted to celebrate with my colleagues and other animal protection groups when a ban on wild animal circuses finally came into effect in January 2018.

Prior to my time at the ISPCA I held the position of Head of Wildlife for the RSPCA, responsible for developing and delivering RSPCA policies regarding wild animal welfare including the use of wild animals in entertainment (e.g. circuses), captive wild animals, the keeping of ‘exotic’ pets, the international trade in wild animals and the welfare implications of wildlife management. During my time with the RSPCA, alongside many other charities including Freedom for Animals, we saw the Westminster government commit to ending the use of wild animals in circuses although the ban didn’t come into effect until January 2020.

Before this I had a more hands-on role as Manager of the RSPCA’s largest wildlife rehabilitation centre based in Cheshire. Here I was fortunate to see the difference that true wildlife rehabilitation can make to animals, and strengthened my feelings that wild animals belong in the wild.

I introduced a programme to measure the post-release survival of rehabilitated wildlife casualties, helping to monitor the survival of a wide range of wild animals including foxes, polecats, hedgehogs, bats, seals, seabirds, tawny owls, sparrowhawks and others. This work demonstrated that rehabilitated wildlife casualties can be successfully released to the wild where they are able to find food and reintegrate back into the wild.

Just like the supporters of Freedom for Animals, I greatly value the importance and impact of investigations and conducting research to speak up for animals. At the ISPCA I worked with a team of inspectors to investigate animal suffering and to take action to help animals. Subsequently ISPCA Inspectors have been at the forefront of enforcing animal welfare legislation in Ireland and have successfully prosecuted many animal abusers.

Freedom for Animals has a long history of campaigning for an end to captivity for animals. With my past experience I really hope I can help Freedom for Animals to achieve even more. 

We are currently campaigning on several issues, including events using live animals, aquariums and zoos, mobile zoos, tethering of birds of prey and the use of animals in the media and entertainment. There are many challenges ahead but also many opportunities to improve the lives of countless animals which are kept in captivity. 

I am looking forward to working with the dedicated staff, volunteers, other like-minded animal protection groups and of course our fantastic supporters at Freedom for Animals to drive permanent change for captive animals and to aim for a day when all animals are free from captivity.


If you’re on Linkedin you can read more about my experience and connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-kelly-14326b36/