15 Of Animal Equality’s Most Impactful Public Actions
Since Animal Equality was founded in 2006, our team has been at the forefront of driving meaningful changes for animals through strategic and powerful public demonstrations.
From carrying out open rescues of animals suffering in factory farms to disrupting the cruel industries that exploit and abuse animals, here are 15 of our most impactful actions and protests.
1. Activists Chain Themselves to a Slaughterhouse – Madrid, 2006
Animal Equality’s first major on the ground action was to block the entrance of a slaughterhouse in Madrid, stopping a truck taking lambs to their deaths from entering. Four activists – including two of our Co-founders, Sharon Núñez, President of Animal Equality, and Javier Moreno – chained themselves to the slaughterhouse gates, while others demonstrated alongside them holding signs reading ‘respect other animals’ and ‘vegetarianism saves animals’. The slaughterhouse filed a complaint which went to court, but our four activists were eventually acquitted of all charges.
2. Open Rescue of Six Piglets – Castilla La Mancha, 2007
Infiltrating an intensive Spanish pig farm, Animal Equality carried out an open rescue of six piglets who were being raised for human consumption. The scenes we found inside the farm were deplorable. Mother pigs confined in tiny crates were screaming in agony, unable to comfort their babies who were living amongst the dead bodies of their brothers and sisters who hadn’t survived the harsh farm conditions.
We had a new home at a sanctuary waiting for the piglets who we were able to rescue, where they have been able to live out their lives happily and free from suffering ever since.
3. Campofrío Headquarters Demonstration – Madrid, 2008
After the prominent Spanish food company Campofrío released an anti-vegetarian advertisement, Animal Equality conducted investigations into one of the company’s pig farms to expose the truth to consumers.
The farm was littered with dead piglets. We took their bodies to Campofrío’s headquarters and staged a demonstration with the corpses to show the company’s staff and the press the reality behind its marketing claims.
4. Scaling A Bullring – Barcelona 2008
Animal Equality’s Co-founder Jose Valle and activist Tomás García suspended themselves from the facade of the La Monumental bullring in Barcelona and unfurled a large banner demanding an end to the so-called ‘sport’ of bullfighting.
The bullring closed a few years later, in 2011.
5. Jumping Into A Bullring – Barcelona, 2008
Coinciding with the above action, four other Animal Equality activists including our Co-founder Javier Moreno jumped into the bullring while an event was taking place, risking their safety to draw attention to our cause in front of thousands of spectators.
They held up posters signalling our request for the abolition of bullfighting, while a bull who had just been tortured was dying in the sand.
6. First International Animal Rights Day Protest – Madrid, 2008
In 2008, Animal Equality held its first protest for International Animal Rights Day, bringing compassionate individuals together for a moving demonstration in Madrid to condemn the exploitation of non-human animals.
Fifty activists gathered together, dressed in white overalls, holding the bodies of animals such as chickens, pigs and foxes that we had found dead in intensive farms. Since then, we have commemorated International Animal Rights Day every year, often with similarly large-scale actions in countries around the world including Brazil, Germany and Italy.
7. Catwalk Protest Against Fur – Madrid, 2009
To protest against the use of animals’ skin and fur in the fashion industry, Animal Equality disrupted Madrid Fashion Week by jumping on to the catwalk during the fashion show of luxury brand Roberto Torretta, which uses animal products such as fur and leather. They showed posters to draw attention to our message.
The action had a huge impact in the media – it was broadcast repeatedly on virtually all of Spain’s television channels and covered by major newspapers both in the country and around the world.
8. International Meat Free Day – Madrid, 2009
On International Meat Free Day in 2009, Animal Equality staged a powerful action in a busy area of Madrid. Six activists lay still in large meat trays on the street, splattered with fake blood and covered by plastic wrapping to resemble the packages of animal flesh which are available to purchase in supermarkets.
The trays were labelled as ‘human flesh’ to encourage passers-by to reflect on the consequences of our food choices.
9. Open Rescue Of Hens – Madrid, 2010
In 2010, Animal Equality rescued five hens from a caged egg facility. The hens were kept in extreme confinement, locked behind the bars of a cage, and subjected to a process involving severe food restriction and pitch darkness to force their bodies to start a new egg-laying cycle.
We took the birds to be examined by a vet and secured a new home for them where they are no longer exploited or abused.
Photo © Jo-Anne McArthur / Igualdad Animal
10. One Hundred Crosses Representing Animals – Madrid, 2011
To mark World Vegan Day in 2011, Animal Equality installed 100 graveyard crosses in Madrid’s Callao Square. Each cross was accompanied by a photograph of an animal who had been exploited and killed in a farm, slaughterhouse or laboratory.
The number 100 was chosen to symbolise the 100 lives that it is estimated switching to a vegan diet saves each year.
11. Animal Crime Scene – London, 2011
On the banks of the River Thames in London, we staged a demonstration featuring crime scene tape and chalk outlines of animals drawn on the floor, raising awareness of the billions of forgotten victims of animal agriculture and other forms of exploitation.
This eye-catching action prompted many conversations with the public about the ethical reasons to adopt a vegan diet.
12. International Animal Rights Day – Rome, 2012
In 2012, at the ancient Roman monument the Pantheon, dozens of Animal Equality volunteers gathered for our first International Animal Rights Day action in Italy. They held the lifeless bodies of animals who had died as a result of human exploitation.
Our volunteers also handed out leaflets and collected petition signatures from passing members of the public who were affected by the scene and inspired to take action for animals as a result.
The solemn, heartfelt event shone a light on the fact that freedom, justice and respect are fundamental rights of every individual, no matter their species.
13. International Animal Rights Day – Berlin, 2015
Hundreds of activists joined us at the famous Brandenburg Gate in Berlin for a poignant protest to remember the victims of the animal agriculture industry.
Many of the brave demonstrators were moved to tears as they held the bodies of animals – who had tragically died on farms – in their arms during the action.
Members of the press attended to report on the action, and many passers-by watched on with deep emotion.
14. ‘With My Own Eyes’ Short Film – UK, 2019
The release of Animal Equality’s powerful and thought-provoking short film ‘With My Own Eyes’, which was narrated by actress and animal advocate Rooney Mara, was covered in a leading fashion magazine and enabled us to introduce a new audience to our work fighting on behalf of animals.
Rooney joined us on an undercover investigation inside two intensive farms to expose the intense cruelty within the secretive meat industry, and to tell the heartbreaking stories of the millions of pigs and chickens raised for consumption every year in the UK.
15. Banner Drop with Joaquin Phoenix – London, 2020
In February 2020, just days before he made his inspiring Oscars acceptance speech about injustice and the cruelty of the dairy industry, Joaquin Phoenix joined Animal Equality to drop a 390 square foot banner from iconic London landmark, Tower Bridge. The banner read ‘Factory farming is destroying our planet. Go vegan’, drawing attention to the link between animal agriculture and the climate emergency and encouraging a global switch to a plant-based diet.
The prominent action received global attention and widespread news coverage.
Photo © Jo-Anne McArthur / Animal Equality
With your support, we can organise even more actions like these and continue to make a real difference for animals who are in urgent need of our help.