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Project information

Shine a Light for captive animals

The Shine a Light project is a new approach to our investigations work which aims to tell the stories of the individual animals suffering in captivity. To ensure their protection and welfare, we will use their life stories to connect people to them, developing empathy and compassion for all animals.

This project will take place in 2016 but the stories obtained and resources made will continue to be used into the future

Charity information: Freedom for Animals

Freedom for Animals logo
  • Need


    Many animals live in captivity in situations that are harmful or prevent them from living their life to the fullest. Many of these animals become lost in the numbers, just one of a group of fish, birds or other animals spending their days in tanks and cages. Very few have their story told and their life experience shared, their lives are hidden in the shadows. To be able to work for the rights of these animals, we need people to know them and connect with them as individuals.


    Our project will focus on shining a light on individuals across the industries we seek to reform by telling their stories of life in the circus, in zoos and aquariums or in the exotic pet trade. This will help people learn more about the lives of animals in these industries, building empathy and understanding. This is crucial in making change for animals in a meaningful way.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To encourage empathy and compassion towards animals by telling their life stories.


    » An investigator will visit establishments holding captive animals to identify key individuals and gather information on their daily lives.
    » Carrying out research to find out more information of the histories of the individuals.
    » Using our findings to produce case study stories of animals we discover. These will be presented to the public in media and print for distribution.
    » Organising public awareness raising events using materials produced which tell the stories of the animals. Working with local animal protection groups

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured in the number of detailed stories of individual animals we can produce, the number of public events and the positive responses when shared with people.

  • Impact


    One of our overall aims as a charity is to foster a positive and respectful relationship between animals and humans. In order to do this we must bring them together in creative ways such as the focus of this project. If we can tell the stories of the individuals suffering in these industries in a more personal, emotive way, it can help people empathise and feel compassion towards them. Changing attitudes can then influence people's behaviour to treat animals in the kind way they deserve.


    There is a risk when collecting footage at a location that you may be confronted, asked to stop filming or asked to leave. We limit this possibility by attending venues open to the public where the capture of film and photography is allowed or using hidden camera equipment.


    We will release the findings of the investigations in the form of reports, within our supporter magazine and online in varying formats. We will update donors directly and for those that choose to, we will send copies of the stories of each of the animals we have discovered in our investigation.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £5,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £2,400 Wages For investigation and research
      £250 Travel and admissions To and from establishments
      £700 Evidence gathering Video and photography capture and production
      £650 Design and print Production of animal story cards
      £1,000 Outreach Organisation of events highlighting individual animals to reach out to the public
  • Background


    We will select key locations holding captive animals using prior research to identify possible animals to focus on. We will select locations open to the public via normal trading hours or special open days. The exact locations of the project cannot yet be released due to the sensitive nature of the project. These animals will reflect the experiences of animals held captive around the UK and Ireland.


    Animals in general will benefit in the long term as we reach out to people and influence their attitudes towards animals, creating a deeper understanding and respect for them. Behavioural change in humans towards animals means that exploitative practices will decline and animals will be better considered and protected.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Captive Animals' Protection Society has been campaigning for 57 years against the exploitation of animals in captivity. Over the years we have carried out several successful investigations and campaigns which have improved the lives of thousands of animals. Our campaign against the animal circus industry has led to a dramatic reduction to the number of animals used and the number of people who support this industry.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Nicola O'Brien

    Campaigns Director - will oversee the investigation, media and production of animal story cards.


    Carries out the investigations - identity not revealed due to the nature of their work

    Maddy Taylor

    Campaigns Officer - will assist in project through research. Will help organise outreach events highlighting individual animals an liaise with donors

    Amy Hill

    Outreach Assistant (volunteer) - will help organise outreach event and liaise with supporters


pays for 100 cards telling the story of an animal