On 11th June 2024, activists of the UK animal rights group Animal Rising stuck two big cartoon-like posters on the first official portrait of King Charles since his coronation to send a message to the animal welfare organisation RSPCA, asking it to drop its RSPCA-Assured scheme that rubberstamps farms that abuse animals.

The activists plastered two posters, one with the head of the cartoon character Wallace (from the acclaimed Wallace and Gromit movies) and another with a speech bubble saying, “No cheese, Gromit. Look at all this cruelty on RSPCA farms!”, which uses a common catchphrase of the character to drive the message. The result was a surprisingly well-proportioned professional-looking new portrait, the image of which circulated on social media — likely to be easily reverted to its original form without causing damage. 

In a tweet, Animal Rising posted, “‼️BREAKING: No Cheese Gromit! King Charles Portrait Redecorated‼️ @RoyalFamily. ‼️Find out why King Charles, Patron of the RSPCA should ask them to drop the Assured Scheme.”

The original portrait (which was mostly red and had raised some eyebrows for its unconventional look) was created by Jonathan Yeo and unveiled in Buckingham Palace in May. It has now been moved to Philip Mould Gallery in London, where the incident took place.

This display was part of a wider campaign that started on 9th June 2024, when Animal Rising released the largest farm investigation in UK history, exposing what they say is systemic cruelty over 40 farms under the RSPCA Assured Scheme. They carried out over 60 undercover investigations and claimed that they found widespread suffering in every single one. The group also released a report, as well as a very impressive high-production video showing a summary of their findings, which expose the condition of factory farms of all types, including chickens, pigs, and salmons, all of them rubberstamped under the RSPCA Assured Scheme, which is supposed to only accept farms with the best animal welfare conditions. This latest publicity stunt targeted King Charles as he is a patron of the RSPCA.

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Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.