Animal rights protestors paste Wallace and Gromit over King Charles portrait

Animal rights activists have defaced the King's portrait as Geraint Vincent explains

An animal rights activist group have defaced the King's first official portrait since his coronation.

Two men from Animal Rising were seen pasting an image of Wallace from animated series Wallace and Gromit over the King's face, along with a speech bubble which read: "No cheese gromit, look at all this cruelty on RSPCA farms!".

Animal Rising said two supporters entered the Philip Mould gallery at around midday on Tuesday and plastered two posters on top of the large portrait.

The demonstration was aimed at highlighting the group’s “damning investigation” into 45 RSPCA “assured” farms, the group said.

It added that the protest was a “comic redecoration” and said the posters were affixed using water sprayed on to the back, so they could be easily removed.

It is understood the painting is behind Perspex and so no damage has occurred. The group said the “light-hearted action played on the King’s love of Wallace and Gromit”.

Daniel Juniper, a former early years practitioner and one of those involved, said: “With King Charles being such a big fan of Wallace and Gromit, we couldn’t think of a better way to draw his attention to the horrific scenes on RSPCA Assured farms.

“Even though we hope this is amusing to His Majesty, we also call on him to seriously reconsider if he wants to be associated with the awful suffering across farms being endorsed by the RSPCA.

“Charles has made it clear he is sensitive to the suffering of animals in UK farms; now is the perfect time for him to step up and call on the RSPCA to drop the Assured Scheme and tell the truth about animal farming.”

The report was released by Animal Rising on Sunday and contains findings from investigations on 45 farms across the UK featuring chickens, pigs, salmon, and trout.

Artist Jonathan Yeo and King Charles at the unveiling of Yeo's portrait of the King Credit: PA

The portrait, by British artist Jonathan Yeo, was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate the then Prince of Wales’s 50 years as a member of The Drapers’ Company in 2022.

It was unveiled on May 14 at Buckingham Palace, and depicts Charles wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, of which he was made Regimental Colonel in 1975.

English art dealer Philip Mould said it is the “most progressive formal royal portrait” created for a “very long time”.

The portrait has been on public display since May 16 and was due to be removed on Friday.

Animal Rising describes itself as a non-violent, people-powered organisation working towards a sustainable future where humanity shares a positive relationship with animals and nature.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “We are shocked by this vandalism of His Majesty (the) King, our patron’s, portrait.

“We welcome scrutiny of our work, but we cannot condone illegal activity of any kind. Our staff and volunteers work extremely hard rescuing, caring for, and speaking up for animals.

“Animal Rising’s sustained activity is distracting from our focus on the work that really matters – helping thousands of animals every day.”

“We remain confident that our RSPCA Assured scheme is the best way to help farmed animals right now, while campaigning to change their lives in the future.”

The spokesperson added that any concerns about welfare on RSPCA Assured certified farms were taken extremely seriously and an investigation had already been launched.

“RSPCA Assured is acting swiftly to look into these allegations. After receiving the footage on Sunday, RSPCA Assured has launched an immediate, urgent investigation. We have responded openly and transparently to Animal Rising’s challenges to our farming work,” the RSPCA spokesperson said.

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