Animal Rights Activists Plaster King Charles III Portrait with ‘Wallace and Gromit’ Stickers - The World News

Animal Rights Activists Plaster King Charles III Portrait with ‘Wallace and Gromit’ Stickers

Jonathan Yao’s divisive portrait of King Charles III has been vandalized with stickers by two animal rights activists. The group Animal Rights shared a video on X, formerly Twitter, showing the protesters using rollers to plaster a picture of Wallace, from the animated film series Wallace and Gromit, over the monarch’s face. The portrait is on display at Philip Mould gallery in London through June 21.

Also stuck to Yao’s painting was a speech bubble that said, “No cheese, Gromit. Look at all this cruelty on RSPCA farms!” Animal Rising wrote in its social media post: “Find out why King Charles, patron of the RSPCA [Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] should ask them to drop the Assured Scheme”, alongside a link to its website.

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Artist Jonathan Yeo and King Charles III at the unveiling of artist Yeo's portrait of the King, in the blue drawing room at Buckingham Palace, London. The portrait was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate the then Prince of Wales's 50 years as a member of The Drapers' Company in 2022. The artwork depicts the King wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, of which he was made Regimental Colonel in 1975. The canvas size - approximately 8.5 by 6.5 feet when framed - was carefully considered to fit within the architecture of Drapers' Hall and the context of the paintings it will eventually hang alongside.  Picture date: Tuesday May 14, 2024. PA Photo. Jonathan Yeo had four sittings with the King, beginning when he was Prince of Wales in June 2021 at Highgrove, and later at Clarence House. The last sitting took place in November 2023 at Clarence House. Yeo also worked from drawings and photographs he took, allowing him to work on the portrait in his London studio between sittings. See PA story ROYAL King. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The RSPCA Assured Scheme is a program intended to raise welfare standards for farm animals throughout the United Kingdom. According to the RSPCA, farms, abattoirs, hatcheries, and haulers must be assessed and confirmed to have met its standards to remain in operation. A RSPCA Assured sticker is used on products to indicate their high quality.

However the Assured Scheme has faced scrutiny from animal rights activists over the exact criteria used to determine whether a farm passes inspection. Shortly before the vandalism, Animal Rising published an investigation into 45 RSPCA Assured farms, whose operations they described as “indefensible” 

In response to the vandalism, the RSPCA said in a statement: “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.” 

According to the RSPCA, its Assured Scheme is “the best way to help farmed animals right now, while campaigning to change their lives in the future”. The statement added that “concerns about welfare on RSPCA Assured certified farms are taken extremely seriously and RSPCA Assured is acting swiftly to look into these allegations. After receiving the footage on Sunday morning, RSPCA Assured has launched an immediate, urgent investigation.”

Philip Mould told The Telegraph that he was “delighted to say there was absolutely no damage” to the portrait after the stickers were peeled off.

The first official portrait of King Charles III since his coronation last year, Yeo’s painting was unveiled at Buckingham Palace last month.

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