OneKind is a campaigning animal welfare charity based in Edinburgh and operating in Scotland, UK and as part of the Eurogroup for Animals. OneKind exists to end cruelty to Scotland's wildlife, pets, and other animals through high-profile public campaigns, political lobbying, investigations, objective research and public education.
The organisation was founded as the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection, in 1911 by Nina Douglas-Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton. Kay Douglas-Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton, widow of the 15th Duke, remains active in the organisation. The group is currently run by Director Harry Huyton. It was renamed Advocates for Animals in 1990, as part of a rebranding campaign that included a new logo, but officially became known as OneKind in 2010.
OneKind works to expose the suffering of wild animals caused by weaknesses in or a lack of legislation, with an ongoing campaign to ban the use of snares as a fox-trapping technique in Scotland. In 2011, OneKind set up the Snare Watch website to allow members of the UK public to report snare locations and incidents such as the accidental trapping of domestic pets or non-target species such as badgers. OneKind also provide a secretariat service to the Wild Animal Welfare Committee, an independent group providing an evidence base for evaluating, monitoring, assessing and improving decisions affecting the welfare of free-living wild animals in the UK. OneKind advocates for better protection for seals, and for an end to culling of native species perceived as ‘pests’ including Scotland's mountain hares, and beavers.
In 2014 OneKind published the Pet Origins report, a comprehensive review of the UK’s pet vending industry illustrating the current problems and setting arguments for industry reform. OneKind would like to see the Pet Animals Act 1951 updated to ensure it provides adequate protection for all animals being bred and sold commercially, and the practice of keeping primates as household pets to be banned in the UK.
In 2010 Wales became the first country in the UK to ban electric shock collars and other electric animal training devices. OneKind is currently campaigning for the same ban to occur in Scotland. Shock collars are sometimes used by animal owners for behaviour training by negative reinforcement. Those opposed to their use suggest that they cause unnecessary pain and suffering to dogs, through the application of an aversive stimulus. It is also suggested that the poorly timed use of such devices by the general dog owner can cause anxiety in dogs, since unpredictable application of shock influences stress responses. Dogs can also associate the application of the stimulus with events other than that intended, suggested to potentially result in the development of aggression.
Advocates for Animals was one of a few anti-vivisection groups to contribute to the formation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Former director Les Ward described it as "one of the better laws" in comparison to other countries' legislation, while acknowledging that "most scientists in the UK, were they not to have the protection of the 1986 Act, would find themselves in a court of law for cruelty to animals." Ward also served on the Animal Procedures Committee, a statutory requirement of the act.
In 1992, after a television debate, Advocates for Animals' director Les Ward and Colin Blakemore, a strong advocate of animal experimentation, formed the Boyd Group, a bipartisan forum to discuss issues relating to animal experimentation. Advocates for Animals claims this approach led to a joint effort by the scientific and animal welfare communities to ban the testing of cosmetics on animals.
Advocates for Animals was instrumental in getting the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 passed, which aimed to ban hunting wild mammals with dogs, and their campaign for a ban on the use of snares led to the introduction of new welfare standards for their use.
OneKind adopts a pragmatic stance on animal welfare issues, choosing to engage with legislators to further their cause. The organisation aims to improve animal welfare in Scotland through focused campaigns, rather than advocating for animal rights in general. The charity is vocal in its opposition to extreme forms of protest and publicly distances itself from acts of violence carried out by animal rights extremists.
The group's moderate stance has drawn criticism from within the animal rights community. The National Anti-Vivisection Society described the Boyd Group as a "public relations exercise" and the British Anti-Vivisection Association described then Advocates for Animals Director Ward's engagement with Blakemore as "trading the very premise by which the genuine [anti-vivisection] movement exists, in return for an end to cosmetic testing." Ward justified his position, telling Nature, "I want to see the total end of animal experimentation, but I am not stupid enough to think that it is going to happen overnight." Ward eventually withdrew from the Boyd Group, believing it had become "stalemated", but in 2006 continued to defend its usefulness, calling it "one of the few places where moderate activists and moderate scientists sat down and talked things over."
In 1991 the group released a critique of primate experiments in the UK, leading to the laboratories mentioned in the report being firebombed by extreme animal liberationists. In response the group restricted the release of a follow up report in 1992, urging editors to use "discretion by not identifying the laboratories or scientists concerned."
The primatologist Jane Goodall was the president of Advocates for Animals from 1998 until 2008. In May of that year, she described Edinburgh Zoo's new primate enclosure as a "wonderful facility" where monkeys "are probably better off [than] living in the wild in an area like Budongo, where one in six gets caught in a wire snare, and countries like Congo, where chimpanzees, monkeys and gorillas are shot for food commercially." This is in conflict with Advocates for Animals' position on captive animals, who stated "She's entitled to her opinion, but our position isn't going to change. We oppose the keeping of animals in captivity for entertainment." In June 2008 Goodall confirmed that she had resigned the presidency of the organisation, citing her busy schedule.