1988 was the year I became an animal rights activist. I was 30 years old and Unigate was building Europe’s biggest chicken killing factory around my home town of Scunthorpe. I had an instant empathy with broiler chicken - abused animals who suffers a short, painful life. My enlightenment came via the work of brilliant campaigners Clare Druce and Peter Roberts.
I had never campaigned before. Along with a handful of like-minded people we honed our skills and organised demonstrations, talks and media releases against the multi-national company and the support it received from local and national government. This is where I first met Andrew Tyler - a keen supporter of the cause.
Years of campaigning made small in-roads and a few chickens were rescued. But sadly we lost the battle. The poultry enterprise, now under its third owner, slaughters one million birds every week.
I have had a passion for horses since I was a little boy. In 1992 I started a national group called Action to Abolish the Grand National, the first animal rights group dedicated solely to ending the world’s most horrific horse race. After the 1993 Grand National was prevented from taking place, the campaign really took off. Major national newspapers, TV and radio all wanted information and interviews.
In 1996 my association with Animal Aid began. I wrote small snippets about racehorse deaths that were printed in Outrage. I started to research and write a little more, until eventually, Animal Aid took on horse racing as a major campaign. We now lead the debate, defending the interests of racehorses around the world. As a result, the issue is now firmly on the political agenda and the racing industry is constantly under the media spotlight.