know youR HISTORY

In 2017, WAR was formed by a coalition of activists who had been fighting the Government’s violent and unscientific badger cull. However, we were by no means the first animal rights group in Dorset.

In fact, the first local hunt sab group was formed in Bournemouth way back in 1964, and during the half century between them and us, Dorset has been a hotbed of animal liberation activity.

We are incredibly proud to be carrying the torch forward, and we will never forget the incredible legacy that we are a part of. We hope you enjoy – and are inspired by – this glimpse into Dorset activism over the years.

  • 1964

    Dorset’s first hunt sab group founded in Bournemouth

  • 1965

    Dorset’s Brightford Vale hunt carry out the first recorded attack on hunt saboteurs in the UK, with an axe and metal bars. Three Bournemouth hunt saboteurs injured, and one hunt supporter fined for destroying a sab’s guitar with the axe

  • 1982

    Twenty-one rabbits, and twenty-five guinea pigs rescued from vivisection breeders in Poole and Ashley Heath (both now closed)

  • 1983

    151 chickens liberated from intensive farms in Dorchester, Sturminster Newton, and Wimborne

    Fifty-one rats and 100 mice saved from dissection at schools in Bournemouth, Wimborne, and Ferndown

    Chipperfields animal circus forced to close two weeks early by animal rights campaigners

    Eight guinea pigs rescued from train at Bournemouth station en-route to a laboratory; just one of several such heists

  • 1984

    Poole council offices painted red for refusing to ban animal circuses

    Sheep liberated from abattoir in Ferndown

  • 1985

    Ten abattoir trucks destroyed by fire in Poole

  • 1986

    Ferrets bred for vivisection liberated from breeder in Poole (now closed)

  • 1989

    Dorset Anti Bloodsports (DAB) formed

  • 1994

    DAB campaigners get the Cattistock Hunt’s annual boxing day meet at Bridport indefinitely cancelled

  • 1995

    Dorset Animal Action (DAA) formed, with regular protests and actions against all forms of animal abuse for the following decade

  • 1997

    Seventeen hunt saboteurs hospitalised by the Portman Hunt in a single day

  • 1998

    6,000 mink freed from fur farm on Dorset border by activists including an undercover police officer, who later switched sides. This action was the catalyst for fur farming being outlawed in the UK

  • 1999

    Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) is formed to close Europe’s largest animal testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). Over the following decade, Dorset activists play a key role in the historic campaign.

  • 2000

    Fur farming banned in Britain

    Dorset’s first vegan restaurant, Wessex Tales, opens in Bournemouth

  • 2001

    Shell petrol stations across the county are occupied by SHAC activists

  • 2002

    600 hens liberated from battery farm in Bournemouth. The farm closed as a result

  • 2003

    Animal Liberation Front (ALF) activist Keith Mann arrested in Poole, accused of liberating 700 mice from Wickham Laboratories

  • 2004

    Lobster Liberation Front formed during an action at Chapman’s Pool. Their tactics of sabotaging boats, and emptying lobster pots are soon repeated across Europe

    Hunting with hounds banned in the UK, though hunts openly continue under the guise of ‘trail’ hunting

    Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) use an injunction in an attempt to seize the home of a Bournemouth activist.

  • 2005

    Southern Animal Rights Coalition (SARC) launch regular protests against fur and foie gras retailers in Weymouth and Bournemouth

  • 2010

    Animal Aid film abuse inside Manston abattoir, prompting Sainsbury’s to suspend their contract

  • 2017

    Animal Equality expose Grange Farm in Winfrith Newburgh, a ’battery farm’ for dairy cows, resulting in M&S suspending their contracts

    Weymouth Animal Rights (WAR) formed