Budget (US): $4.3 million
Headquarters (US): New York
CEO (US): Lindsay Oliver
CEO Compensation (US): Unknown
CharityWatch Grade (US): C+
Headquarters (Global): London
Budget (Global): $34.6 million
CEO (Global): Steve McIvor
Chair (Global): Joanna Kerr
Background and Agenda
Headquartered in the UK with an office in New York, World Animal Protection is a fringe group that attacks zoos, aquariums, and pet providers. However, World Animal Protection lacks credentials in animal welfare.
WAP’s campaigns focus on three areas:
- Attacking tourism. WAP pressures travel companies to stop selling tickets to attractions with animals.
- Attacking food companies. WAP demands companies refuse to buy meat raised using modern animal husbandry practices that are supported by veterinarians.
- Pet bans. WAP lobbies for bans on the sale of pets at pet stores.
Like other animal activists, World Animal Protection has received significant funding from a single foundation called the Open Philanthropy Project. Since 2017, WAP has received more than $7.6 million via the Open Philanthropy Project.
The Open Philanthropy Project was founded by a billionaire Facebook founder. Since 2016, it has given over $100 million to animal activists, much of it to fund corporate pressure campaigns. While these campaigns typically have the appearance of being grassroots, they are astroturf. (For more information, see Report: Activist Campaigns Are Astroturf.)
Lack of Credibility
World Animal Protection is not a credible group to speak on animal welfare.
A review of WAP’s US staff finds that not a single staffer appears to have any credentials in veterinary medicine, animal science, or modern livestock farming. Eight of 17 staff members are involved in development and marketing, and 7 more involved in campaigns and media. Executive director Lindsay Oliver is a longtime vegan activist who previously worked for Mercy for Animals, a separate fringe animal liberation group.
Similarly, WAP’s global CEO, Steve McIvor, formerly worked for The Body Shop, a bath products company, and does not appear to have any credentials in animal welfare. WAP’s global director of its farming campaign is a scuba instructor who worked for Greenpeace for many years but doesn’t appear to have any credentials in farm animal welfare.
Board chair Joanna Kerr, who calls herself a “global citizen, feminist and environmentalist,” previously ran Greenpeace’s Canadian branch. Greenpeace has been slammed by its own founder, who said the group has “an agenda that is anti-science, anti-business, and downright anti-human.”
WAP attacks some companies in the travel industry–while taking money from and promoting other companies. WAP US reports receiving funding from the corporate foundations of Australian travel company Intrepid and the German travel company TUI. WAP also reports receiving money from Airbnb in 2019; the following year, WAP stated, “You can support companies such as Airbnb.”