King Charles portrait gets makeover from animal rights protesters

Animal rights activists pasted over King Charles III’s newly unveiled portrait at a London art gallery on Tuesday, in a move meant to highlight new allegations against the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), where Charles is a patron.

The activist group Animal Rising posted a video on the social platform X of its members affixing posters onto the Jonathan Yeo portrait of Charles, which was unveiled last month at the Philip Mould Gallery and is the first portrait of Charles since he became king.

The group hung a poster of the character Wallace, from the British “Wallace and Gromit” comedy film series, in front of the king’s face. Members also affixed a second poster of a speech bubble, which read, “No cheese, Gromit. Look at all this cruelty on RSPCA farms!”

The demonstration meant to highlight Animal Rising’s months-long investigation, which, the group alleges, uncovered “factory farming and severe animal cruelty” at dozens of farms that were “assured” by the RSPCA.

The gallery confirmed no damage was done to the painting and that the incident was over very quickly, the BBC reported.

In a statement to The Hill, an RSPCA spokesperson said the group was “shocked” by the incident and defended the RSPCA Assured farms as “the best way to help farmed animals right now, while campaigning to change their lives in the future.”

“We are shocked by this vandalism of His Majesty King Charles, our Patron’s, portrait. We welcome scrutiny of our work, but we cannot condone illegal activity of any kind,” the RSPCA spokesperson said. “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.”

The portrait was commissioned to celebrate Charles’s 50 years as a member of the Drapers’ Company, which was set up more than 600 years ago as a trade association for wool merchants but is now primarily a philanthropic organization.

The Associated Press contributed.

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