Ricky Gervais, Mark Rylance, Twiggy, and Others Urge PM to Prevent Children From Being Exposed to Hunts

Ricky Gervais, Mark Rylance, Twiggy, and Others Urge PM to Prevent Children From Being Exposed to Hunts

London – Following the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s recent recommendation that children be shielded from “exposure to violence, such as … violence inflicted on animals”, comedian Ricky Gervais, actor Sir Mark Rylance, supermodel Dame Twiggy Lawson, and others sent a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him to introduce legislation that would prohibit children from witnessing or participating in hunting activities. The letter was cosigned by PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk.

“Watching wildlife being terrorised, gunned down, or otherwise slaughtered is inarguably traumatic and can be psychologically scarring for young people, most of whom have a natural empathy for animals,” writes the group in the letter. “The animals killed for ‘sport’ or morbid tradition have the same capacity to feel pain and suffer as the dogs and cats who are treasured family members – such as your own dog companion.”

The letter is also supported by influencer and actor Gemma Atkinson, television presenter Kirsty Gallacher, actors Amanda Abbington and Peter Egan, singer Shirlie Kemp, sailor Tracy Edwards, and commentator and former cricketer Alan Wilkins. It points out that witnessing animals being killed for entertainment can not only leave impressionable young people profoundly disturbed but can also desensitise them to suffering – teaching them that the lives of others are not valuable and that it is acceptable, even enjoyable, to inflict pain on and torment others. The group highlights the well-established link between cruelty to animals in childhood and antisocial behaviour in adulthood.

“[T]o help young people thrive, it’s essential that we take measures to protect them from witnessing acts of casual violence against animals,” concludes the letter. “May we please hear from you that you will follow the committee’s guidance and ban young people from being exposed to or encouraged to participate in hunting spectacles?”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visitPETA.org.ukor follow the group on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, orInstagram.


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]