International Animal Rights Day


Uncaged's campaign for a Universal Declaration of Animal Rights [1] is the only major initiative aimed at promoting the basic values that underpin the animal rights movement. International Animal Rights Day (IARD) on December 10 is a day of action dedicated to highlighting the compelling case for animal rights.

I think it is essential that animal rights advocates devote a proportion of our resources to pushing the basic, rational case for our cause. Although 'animal rights' appears radical to those unfamiliar with the issue, we know it is simply the reasonable application of most people's innate compassion and the values of a genuinely civilised society. Acceptance of animal rights is an essential fundamental belief that must be established if individuals and our culture and legal system are to stop barbaric practices like animal experiments and factory farming, and alleviate the tyranny and oppression suffered by animals.


Here at Uncaged we are constantly reviewing and improving our campaigns, and so we are aiming to express the case for animal rights in a more tangible, less abstract way that the general public can relate to better, by linking it with notions of compassion. This notion and similar ones like ‘cruelty’ and ‘torture’ are easier for the 'naive' public to grasp than more abstract concepts such as ‘personhood’ and ‘speciesism’.

So we have produced two fantastic new leaflets - 'Animal Rights: A Question of Compassion' and 'How to Respect Animal Rights' - now available to download [2] (I've attached lo-res versions as a preview), along with translations of our animal rights leaflets and posters. These leaflets aim to make the idea of animal rights more accessible and provide useful information to empower the public to respect animal rights.


On IARD there will be candlelit vigils and other events across the world to commemorate the innocent animal victims of premeditated cruelty. So far, activists have confirmed their participation from as far afield as Argentina, Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy and Sweden, as well as from all across the UK.

For past IARDs [3] we have encouraged campaigners to hold vigils outside establishments involved in animal abuse, and now we've developed a new, additional strand which emphasises the value of holding vigils in town centres or prominent busy landmarks. It’s an opportunity to encourage the public - across the entire world - to stop and reflect on the relentless abuse that humanity inflicts on other animals. Animals are powerless, but we need to encourage people to make a difference by taking responsibility for what they eat, buy and how they vote.

We also have sample letters to the editor and press releases to help you with vital publicity for your event and, most importantly, the case for animal rights. You can visit to find out more about how you can get involved in IARD.

I'm giving a talk entitled "Animal Rights in the Real World: Obstacles and Opportunities" that you may find interesting at Animals Aid's Christmas Fayre on Sunday 6 December, 11.00-11.45am, Kensington Town Hall, London W6 [4]. I will discuss our International Animal Rights Day initiative and, on a more general level, I will apply my experience and political science expertise to discuss some of the factors affecting progress in animal rights, to enhance our understanding of the social terrain within which we operate so that we can advance animal rights more effectively.
It would be great to see you there, and we have a stall at the event where we'll be selling some cruelty-free goodies and having a big sale on our campaign t-shirts. I hope you can recognise the enormous value of IARD to advancing animal rights, and I look forward to working with you to help advance our cause.

Yours for animal rights

Dr Dan Lyons
Campaigns Director
5th Floor, Alliance House
9 Leopold Street, Sheffield S1 2GY
United Kingdom
tel: +44 (0) 114 2722220 / 07799 117695

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From Dusk 'til Dawn
An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

© Keith Mann