2021 was another tricky year for the world, with Covid-19 continuing to affect our lives. Our team at Freedom for Animals dearly hopes you have all kept safe and well. 

We also want to send on our deepest thanks to you, for sticking by us and the animals throughout it all. Thanks to you, animals in need were not left behind. 

Let’s take a look at everything you have achieved for animals this year!

January - March

We kick started the year with progress in the campaign to ban the primate pet trade. The government launched a public consultation on banning the keeping of primates as pets. We submitted our evidence alongside many other animal protection organisations and individuals like you. As a result, the government listened and legislation is now in development to make this a reality!

This followed our investigation at a pet shop in Manchester who were breeding and selling marmoset monkeys as pets.

With your help we continued our campaign to shut down the Borth Zoo ‘horror zoo’ in Wales. Animals had suffered and died at this zoo in awful circumstances. In a fantastic victory for animals, in February a court ordered the management company be wound up after the zoo racked up more than £100,000 in debt. In July, the zoo was forced to rehome many of the wild animals they held captive and can now no longer run as a zoo!

In March we celebrated all things wild! During our wildlife month we hosted a series of events, including a webinar about free-living animals, their habitats and how we can enjoy the presence of these animals without holding them captive. We also held our Wildlife Walk and quiz!

April - June

EXPOSED: Zoo circus shows exploit sea lions. In April we launched the findings of our investigation at UK zoos where sea lions were being made to perform tricks as part of daily shows. We caught on camera sea lions being made to balance balls on their faces, 'clap' their flippers, catch hoops and jump on command. Tricks you would expect to see in an animal circus. With your help we launched a campaign to end these shows, which will carry on into next year. 

As part of our campaign against cruel mobile zoos we have been working to persuade councils to ban these businesses from council owned land. Thanks to the donations of our kind supporters we were able to produce a fact-filled report about the horrors of the industry, which outlines why councils should ban these businesses from their land. We sent out 315 copies of the report, one to each council in England! Ten local authorities have now banned or restricted mobile zoos. This strengthens our call to other councils to do the same. 

We were delighted in June when news reports shared possible government plans to ban UK zoos from keeping elephants. This follows a ten year report by the government into elephant welfare in zoos. A ban like this would be unprecedented and could have positive implications for other animals too.

In February we sent an open letter to Boris Johnson, asking him not to provide further financial assistance to the zoo industry. This would bail out badly managed zoos and prop up this industry that desperately needs phasing out. Over 900 people joined us in that call and we were delighted to announce in June that the government had not gone ahead!

July - September

Protests and circus monitoring continued this year, with some circuses using domestic animals back out on the road. Animal activists were back out to meet them! The circus bans across Britain frustratingly EXCLUDED domestic animals like horses, llamas, dogs, birds and others so the fight for their freedom has continued strong this year! 

In August we launched a brand new investigation into aquariums, which was funded by our supporters. The investigation documented disturbing behaviours and injuries in fishes and other captive aquatic animals, as a result of their confinement. We also released evidence showing how aquarium conservation claims are poor at best, with the vast majority of animals in aquariums not being from endangered species. 

Common smoothhound exhibiting stereotypical behaviour

October - December

After our amazing supporters reached out in their hundreds, Tesco supermarket brand ‘Jack’s’ cancelled 12 'Meet the Reindeer' events! We asked our supporters to take to social media to voice their objection, and after a few days enough of you had spoken out to demonstrate that the public simply doesn’t want to see animals used as props, and Jack’s Stores changed their plans. They opted for a choir, festive food, and face painters rather than confining innocent, sensitive creatures to tiny pens in stressful environments. 

In another fantastic result, Silcock’s Winter Wonderland in Manchester, the UK’s largest Indoor Christmas Theme Park, removed their planned use of reindeer following a petition set up by one of our supporters. Caroline’s petition attracted almost 50,000 signatures, a true testament to just how much opposition there is to using reindeer at festive events!

These are just some of the many cancellations secured this year. With covid restrictions easing we saw a rise in festive events using live animals this winter. So with your help we campaigned hard for reindeers, camels, donkeys and other species who are exploited for human entertainment. 

Thank you for all your hard work for animals this year! None of this progress, none of these victories, would be possible without you. 

We look forward to what 2022 will bring for animals! And look forward to fighting alongside you once more.

If you want to take one final action for animals before Christmas, join us as one of our Freedom Champions! Our Champions have made a commitment to animals that helps them far into the future - you can too!