RSPCA’s pile of dead dogs advertisement

Exhibited by
September 06, 2009
Medium of Communication
Posters, press advertising.
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Environmental/animals, social change.
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

Some time around the turn of the 1980s Britain’s leading animal welfare charity, the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), produced a striking and controversial poster that positioned it as a campaigning organisation too. The advertisement featured what appeared to be a photograph of a huge pile of carcasses, the bodies of hundreds of dead dogs. The headline proclaimed, ‘When they killed the dog licence they left us to kill the dogs’. This ad created a storm of controversy when it appeared. A 48-sheet billboard displaying this message was strategically placed outside Cruft’s Dog Show. These dramatic ads changed the way many British people felt about one of their most respected, most ‘establishment’ charities. Hopefully someone from RSPCA or someone involved in the campaign at the time will come forward to tell the full story.

Gavin Grant at the RSPCA with advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers

Name of exhibitor

Maxine Delahunty.

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A grim campaign message from Britain’s leading exponent of animal welfare