Klara Schmidt

Digital Fundraiser @ The Humane League UK
23 karmaJoined Nov 2023Working (6-15 years)London, UK

Bio

In 2017, I became The Humane League UK's first volunteer, and have since worked in roles in both Operations and Development with the organisation. 
I am passionate about ending the abuse of animals raised for food, and creating opportunities for committed individuals to help bring about real change. 
Outside of animal protection, I am a trainee psychotherapist, and particularly interested in helping individuals within the EA community to improve their sense of wellbeing.

How others can help me

You can help me by sharing funding opportunities with me, and by sharing any relevant resources on effective digital fundraising. 

How I can help others

If you would like to make a difference for farmed animals, as an individual, group, or a company, we can explore fundraising and giving opportunities together. 
I am also happy to share wellbeing resources and tools. 

Comments
5

How The Humane League UK would use additional funding

We are The Humane League UK (THL UK), an EA-aligned animal protection organisation working to end the abuse of animals raised for food. We have recently been endorsed by  Animal Charity Evaluators as a recommended charity for the tenth consecutive year. With our research-backed strategy of combining corporate campaigns, grassroots legislative advocacy, and movement building, we are mending our broken food system.


Our campaign:
Between 22nd November and 28th November, all one-off donations made to THL UK will be doubled by two generous match funders, Charlotte and James Monico, who are part of the Founders Pledge community. That’s why, during the week of the appeal, giving to The Humane League UK is particularly impactful for farmed animals. The appeal will support our corporate campaigning work, the focus of which is currently on securing Better Chicken Commitments from leading UK supermarkets Lidl and the Co-op which would result in significantly less suffering for 327 million chickens in their supply chains combined.

Supermarkets are responsible for roughly 65% of the UK’s meat chicken flock, and so they have disproportionate power to raise the bar for chicken welfare and make BCC chicken the norm in the UK. Our previous successes indicate that commitments from one or two of the leading brands will encourage others to follow suit. 
 

How we would use extra funding:
We have already strategically planned our activities for this financial year (2023-24) which we are confident will bring about significant change for farmed animals. However, we currently have a shortfall of approximately £280k. This year, as well as our corporate campaigning work, we are working with businesses to report on their BCC progress, and, as part of the Open Wing Alliance, aiming to continue to make significant progress globally for egg-laying hens, as well as continuing to push for fishes to finally be given increased protection in UK law. 

Beyond this, extra funding would be used to fund our legal case against the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). In May 2023 we had a High Court hearing where we challenged the legality of fast-growing breeds of chicken. Although we did not win the initial case, our appeal has been granted and we will have a further hearing in spring 2024. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to force the Government, with one decision from an appeals court judge, to transform one billion innocent lives per year. However, to proceed, we will need to meet the £56k of anticipated costs, £26k in our own legal fees, and up to £30k for Defra’s fees should we lose the case.  


If you have any questions, you can ask them via the Ask Me Anything (AMA) we are currently hosting (we’ll start answering questions on Friday 17th November 2023, and will continue to answer them on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st November).
 

How to donate:
During the week of the campaign, you will be directed to the match funding campaign when you visit our website. If you wish to make a significant donation and would like to discuss different ways to pay, please reach out to Gavin, Head of Development: gcbates@thehumaneleague.org.uk

Thank you for your question. 

Through negotiation and hard-hitting public pressure campaigns, THL UK is able to secure corporate commitments to improve animal welfare standards.  We choose not to run certification schemes because those schemes, like RSPCA Assured, usually involve having financial ties to the producers or retailers themselves (a certain percentage of sales going to the scheme administrator). Because THL UK wants to expose and hold corporations aggressively to account for poor animal welfare, being fully independent gives us the autonomy to speak critically and openly–and our approach gets results: As a result of our corporate campaigns and collaboration with other organisations, 130 UK companies (610 companies globally) have now signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment. If you would like to get an overview of the companies that made a commitment, all broiler welfare and cage-free commitments globally can be tracked via Chicken Watch, a website by THL.

We of course agree that the current labelling of meat and dairy products is unclear and often misleading. Images of idyllic animals on green farmland, or labels claiming animals live in ‘comfortable’ settings, are a far cry from the deprivation and suffering they experience on factory farms. And we hold retailers to account when we see them using these tactics–just recently, Lidl UK removed misleading imagery of free range outdoor chickens from their website after we submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.  

Thank you for the follow up question. 

There are no restrictions on our core funding based on type or breed of animal, whether land-based or otherwise. 

The only restriction is due to the fact the grant comes from a US 501(c)(3) organisation (THL) and is, therefore, subject to US laws regarding lobbying. As such, this funding cannot be used for lobbying or legislative work, such as our legal case challenging the legality of fast growing breeds of chicken and our fish work, which, up until now, has been solely focussed on legislative action. 

Thank you for your question.

Because having 10x the funding we currently have is not a realistic prospect, especially in the near or mid-term future, it is difficult to say exactly how we would allocate this kind of funding.  

We can also say that with an unanticipated spike in funding, we would also be able to work on new initiatives that, at this time, we do not have the funds for. 

Expansion into corporate fish welfare work is an extremely impactful field that has the potential of positively influencing welfare changes for a large number of fish. Our core grant from THL does not cover any work for fishes, and so if we came into significant unexpected funding, this would move up on our agenda.

We also intend to use our institutional campaigning expertise to undertake corporate plant-based advocacy - asking companies to commit to increasing their plant-based offerings - at some point  in the future. As with corporate fish work, there are currently question marks around resourcing this, and unanticipated additional funding would remove those.

First and foremost, however, THL UK would allocate more resources to our existing corporate and legislative approaches if we came into large sums of unexpected funding. Our Corporate Relations and Campaigns Teams are relatively small (5 employees in total) and significant new funding would allow us to bring in extra capacity, enabling us to bring more varied, and intense, pressure to a larger number of corporate targets.  

While there are multiple approaches that have the potential to impact farmed animal welfare in meaningful ways, there are also multiple organisations working in the UK and beyond within their specific area of knowledge, skill and focus. For us, this area is securing meaningful welfare changes for animals raised for food, and thanks to our campaigning expertise, we are able to impact the lives of exponentially more animals, and reduce more suffering, by investing our energy in winning institutional campaigns.

Thank you for your question.

As you’ve mentioned, we have planned our activities for this financial year. We are committed to proceeding with our plans. However, if we do not receive the funding budgeted for those activities, we would need to either scale back some of our activities or draw on our reserves. Whilst we have a healthy level of reserves currently, they are designed to protect THL UK and its activities in case of an emergency. Reducing our level of reserves would limit our ability to respond in the case of an unplanned event or emergency, and put us in a potentially difficult situation in 2024-2025 if our fundraising plans don’t go as well as we hoped for 2023-2024. Therefore, we are reliant on donations to make sure these activities can go ahead as planned, and not have a detrimental long-term impact on the organisation. 

Extra funding would be used to fund our legal case against the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). 

In May 2023 we had a High Court hearing where we challenged the legality of fast-growing breeds of chicken. Although we did not win the initial case, our appeal has been granted and we will have a further hearing in spring 2024. 

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to force the Government, with one decision from an appeals court judge, to transform one billion innocent lives per year. 

We have been able to secure a cost cap from the court, which means, if we lose the case, we are only liable to pay Defra’s legal costs up to £30k. Without this cost cap we would likely have not been able to continue with our appeal as Defra’s legal fees could be in excess of £300,000.

Regardless, £30k is still a significant sum. We will also have our other legal fees, which have been estimated at £26k (even with one of the two Barristers  working on the case being fully pro bono) meaning we will need £56k in total to fund the appeal. 

Because our appeal was granted only recently, we have not budgeted for a second court battle to happen in this financial year. In order to proceed with this second day in court, we need to raise these funds to be able to move ahead.