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Animal Rights Activists Posted a Cartoon Image Over King Charles’ Portrait 


Two animal rights protestors vandalized the new portrait of King Charles III on Tuesday at the Philip Mould Gallery in London, placing a cartoon picture over the painting.  

Advocates plastered posters on the original painting with a printed picture of Wallace, a popular British character from the 1989 claymation film A Grand Day Out. Protestors also added bubble speech text that reads: “No Cheese Gromit. Look At All This Cruelty On RSPCA Farms!” 

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The painting itself wasn’t damaged as it’s protected by a plastic layer.

The advocates took action on behalf of Animal Rising, a nonprofit organization that is working to “support farming and fishing communities in a …transition to a sustainable and just plant-based food system,” in an attempt to shed light on a recently released report by the organization that allegedly found that animal cruelty was taking place at 45-randomly-selected farms across the U.K. that the organization investigated. The report cited dead pigs left in farm walkways, dead baby chickens, and salmon being eaten by sea lice as evidence.

King Charles is a patron of the RSPCA, also known as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The organization has animal rescue teams and animal hospitals in England and beyond to investigate animal cruelty and offer support. The RSPCA also labels products with an “RSPCA Assured” label as a way to signal products that were farmed, according to their welfare standards.

“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,” Daniel Juniper, one of the protestors involved in the political act said, in a Tuesday press release.

The painting by Jonathan Yeo—which sparked controversy when it was first unveiled last month—is the first portrait of King Charles since his coronation.

The RSPCA said that they were “shocked by the vandalism” of King Charles’ portrait. “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. RSPCA higher welfare standards have been independently proven to make lives better for millions of animals every year,” a RSPCA spokesperson said in an emailed statement to TIME. 

However, the organization said that all concerns were being taken seriously and that RSPCA Assured has “launched an immediate, urgent investigation” into the allegation made against them.

There are reportedly no charges against the protestors.

“The RSPCA needs to take a bolder stance on the transition to a plant-based food system, beginning with calls for drastic meat reduction. The charity can, once again, lead the way for animals in the UK, rather than keeping them in misery,” said Orla Coghlan, an Animal Rising spokesperson. 

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