As 2023 draws to a close, and we look forward to next year's plans in the fight for animal freedom, we want to share some highlights from this eventful year, and remind ourselves of all that's been achieved for animals thanks to you - our wonderful supporters!

Here are some highlights from our eventful 2023...


Our fight against zoos accelerated this year, with the campaign against the notorious South Lakes Zoo picking up new steam on the back of two new investigations being carried out by both Born Free and Freedom for Animals in 2022, alongside a brand new campaign against a proposed new zoo in Trowell, Nottinghamshire.

The South Lakes Zoo campaign centres around the consistent failings of the now renamed Cumbria zoo, and the neglect caused to the animals trapped there. Activists in the area have been holding peaceful demonstrations outside the site since the new investigations were published, to raise public awareness on the continuing issues there, and to pressure the council to take appropriate action and revoke the zoo’s licence. We are so grateful for the activists' continued presence outside this zoo, and for taking action for animals! 

We set up a petition to close down South Lakes Zoo, so that the animals may be released where possible, or relocated to appropriate sanctuaries. We still need many more signatures to make a significant impact, so please sign and share! It can be found here!

The new zoo in Trowell is still in the planning process, after seemingly being pushed back for discussion numerous times. The campaign has seen us hold an online action that has so far seen hundreds of you take action by opposing the plans with the council, joining forces with grassroots activists in the area to take to the streets and distribute specifically designed leaflets against the plans, and creating a petition to help stop the new zoo from being approved! 

You can still help to stop this zoo by joining our social media campaign, sharing our new video which debunks the zoos false claims, and by signing and sharing our petition here!

Thank you so much for all your hard work this year, and helping us fight against these exploitative businesses! We hope to have more updates on these campaigns in early 2024!


Our annual Zoo Awareness Weekend took place again over Easter this year, and as part of the action we saw many of our dedicated supporters and grassroots activists take to the streets to hold protests and information stalls across the UK!

As zoos usually see a flurry of visitors during the Easter period, it is the perfect time to highlight how much suffering truly happens behind their caged doors, and for our supporters to get out there and spread the word, whilst showcasing how many animal-friendly alternatives there are available! 

Activists from London, Merseyside, Brighton, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire and the North East all held impactful demonstrations to educate the public on the truth behind the zoo conservation lie. 

These actions could only be possible thanks to your generous donations and support, as they enable FFA to continue to provide free campaign materials, organise protests and carry out vital online promotion for events.

Since then, we have continued to see a big increase in the number of activists hitting the streets! This includes demos outside or within:

  • South Lakes Zoo

  • London Zoo

  • Sealife London

  • Sealife Brighton

  • Knowsley Safari Park

  • Nottingham 

  • Hastings Aquarium 

  • Newcastle

Actions like these not only help to spread awareness of the issues animals face from a lifetime in captivity, but they also help to turn away the paying public from these establishments. 

Thank you to everyone who has been carrying out vital public outreach. 

We also hit a number of vegan fairs across the UK this year, meeting lots of supporters at Vegfest Brighton, Bristol and London, and Tyneside Vegan and Music Festival hosted by NEAR. We love talking to the public about our work, so thank you for all of your support on the stalls!

This year also saw us take our circus campaign further, by carrying out investigations into the UK’s remaining animal circuses, to understand who they are continuing to exploit and use in their travelling shows, and how.

Unsurprisingly, we witnessed some awful instances of ignorance, cruelty and neglect and have reported this to the local authorities that are responsible for licensing these businesses. But you know as we do, that little will be done to help these animals officially, and it is up to us to fight for them.

This work is ongoing, so we will be able to update you with more on this campaign soon. Watch this space!  


Our recent undercover visit to London Zoo’s Late Zoo Nights event was another vital investigation in 2023. This traumatic event takes place after hours every Friday during June and July, causing distress and upheaval to the many animals held captive there. 

Our investigator witnessed serious pacing and other stereotypies displayed by a number of animals during the evening, whilst onlookers continued to drink and become rowdier throughout the event. More can be read on what was found here.

We will be using the evidence gathered to build on a bigger campaign against these damaging late night events, which continue to be held at a number of zoos across the UK. 

In July we got to welcome a huge win for animals used in mobile zoos, when we received the news that Lancashire Wildlife Trust will no longer be hosting the North West Reptile Club at their site near Preston.

After originally receiving a tip off from a concerned supporter that the site was hosting monthly reptile handling events, we wrote to the trust to raise our own concerns. And they listened! The Lancashire Wildlife Trust responded that all future North West Reptile Club events were cancelled, and a committee was to be formed to consider the future of any mobile zoo events on Wildlife Trust land.

Also this year, the International Herpetological Society (IHS) was forced to find a new venue to hold their biannual reptile and exotic animal trading market, after the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes pulled out and cancelled the event. This was welcome news, as many animal protection charities including Freedom for Animals, Animal Protection Agency and World Animal Protection, have been working tirelessly to ensure cruel events such as this have no place anywhere in our society.

These wins are huge victory for animals in the fight against mobile zoos and the exotic pet trade. It is all thanks to you that we are able to carry out these actions and fight for those that are too often overlooked and forgotten.


Our plan to build on the important work already carried out as part of our Tether and Torment investigation has seen a huge stride forward this year; with our involvement in The Big Give Christmas Challenge allowing us to double our fundraising impact to support the campaign! 

Thanks to all our wonderful supporters who so kindly pledged and donated during this appeal, has meant that we not only reached but exceeded our target, and we are now able to plan the next steps of the campaign to protect these innocent birds. 

“Reigniting this campaign, and exposing the cruelty that is hidden behind tradition and secrecy, will help to create lasting change for birds. Thanks to you this is now possible!!”

Laura Walton - Campaigns Manager 

And, at the beginning of October, we re-launched our Festive Events Campaign, which aims to stop live animals being used as props at events across the country, such as parades and Christmas light switch-ons. 

The 2023 festive campaign took a particularly keen focus on reindeer in the light of new research published by OneKind, which confirmed what we of course knew all too well - that reindeer are not suited to captivity and that the nature of festive events is extremely likely to harm their health and wellbeing. 

As part of our joint initiative with other charities including OneKind, Animal Aid and Born Free, we contacted hundreds of organisations to draw their attention to this research and ask that they host compassionate animal-free celebrations; and as a result we have seen yet another successful campaign evidenced by a further decrease in the number of events using live animals. 

Some of these events included Bootle Strand Shopping Centre, Hamilton Parade, the Christmas Market in Flintshire, and Oldham Parade (an event which previously saw 591 of you take action against through our website previously!). 

Another huge win for reindeer this year was the fight against the proposed reindeer farm in Wrexham. 655 of you opposed the plans through our online action, and the council listened! The plans were rejected in November this year, and it is all thanks to you! 

We are committed to seeing an end to all events that use animals such as reindeer, donkeys and penguins as props, and we could not make this a success without you! 

As we step into 2024 our focus remains strong, and we are committed as ever in the continued fight for the freedom of animals used in entertainment. 


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However you choose to support us, we want to again say a HUGE thank you for everything you've done to make these important victories happen! Here's to 2024, and continuing the fight for animal freedom together.