Anti-vivisection groups developed in Scotland at the beginning of the 20th century, and by 1912, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection (SSPV) had emerged, spearheaded by committed anti-vivisectionists including the Ivory Sisters of Edinburgh.
Their goal was to bring about an end to the suffering of animals for vivisection and the number of animals being stolen from the streets for use in laboratories.
Federated with the Animal Defence and Anti-Vivisection Society based in London, the SSPV published the number of experiments on live animals every year, and reported regularly on research which showed the flaws in vivisection and where alternatives were being used.
The SSPV travelled around Scotland to spread awareness of vivisection through lectures and seminars, and reported huge crowds. Additionally, The SSPV’s Dog’s Bazaar and Animal Welfare Week became prestigious and popular annual events in Edinburgh until the late 1940s. Members brought and made goods to sell at stalls, and the event were instrumental in sharing information with the community.
The organisation survived the two World Wars and helped other organisations financially during wartime including the SSPCA Fund for Sick and Wounded Horses, the Polish Welfare Schemes and the Scottish National Institution for Blinded Sailors and Soldiers.
The Society pioneered paying for dog licences for people who could not afford one, through the Scottish Tail-Waggers’ Club. The Club gave dogs a registration number and certificate, which meant that lost dogs could be reunited with their owners instead of being donated to a laboratory.
The Society’s influence reached far and wide and, despite suffering following the wars, the SSPV continued to produce influential literature for the public and medical profession as well as lecturing around the country and petitioning major public policy makers. The Duchess of Hamilton, SSPV’s pioneer and leader for 33 years, died following an audience with the Pope on behalf of the Society. On her deathbed the Duchess expressed her concern for the plight of all animals in the fast modernising world, and it was following this, in the early 1950s, that the Society resolved to extend its work to the prevention of all types of cruelty to animals.
The organisation was finally renamed Advocates for Animals in 1989 to reflect this ethos. Advocates for Animals maintained the reputation of SSPV and over the years produced countless research articles and reports, carried out public awareness and educational campaigns, and exposed both legal and illegal cruelty to animals through its undercover investigations.
In 2010, Advocates for Animals became OneKind. This name reflected our core belief that animals and humans are not that different, and builds on our founders’ vision: a united planet, where humans, animals and nature exist together in harmony and the wonders of the animal kingdom are truly appreciated and not exploited.
Read more about OneKind’s early years in this paper by Hilda Kean here.