Text by Dr. Hilda Kean
The Animal Defence Society metal badge with an enamelled and elaborate design is a rare badge dating from 1927 or later.
This badge was made, as stated on the reverse, by the firm of Thomas Fattorini one of the leading badge makers with an address of Regent Street, Birmingham which location dates the badge to after 1927. Also on the reverse is the name of the organisation and its prestigious central London address of 15 St James Place, S.W.1. The badge is of a small rectangular shape 1 ½ inches in height with a width of 1”. There is an insecure clasp on the back enabling it to be worn on clothing. The badge depicts a St Francis of Assisi type figure although the organisation was not explicitly religious in its sentiments. There is a range of animals include wild or working animals and a bird as well as ‘pets’ such as a dog or an apparently small cat being held.
The Animal Defence Society is an abbreviation of The Animal Defence and Anti-Vivisection Society established in 1906 by Louise Lind af Hageby and Nina Duchess of Hamilton. This was a small campaigning organisation with a particular focus in its early years on exposing the nature of vivisection. Hageby and her friend Liesa Schartau bore witness to animal experiments at University College, London particularly upon an old brown dog, as they described in their book Shambles of Science.
The campaigning work continued until the 1960s with the death of Hageby. The organisation was opposed to cruelty towards animals in many forms including hunting, experimentation and as performers in film and stage. The Society was active in the Second World War offering sanctuary at the home of the Duchess of Hamilton at Ferne in Dorset to animals evacuated from London by their keepers anxious for their welfare. The sanctuary continued after the war for several years.