Sheffield schoolgirl’s award win for crusade against animal cruelty

Lucy Gavaghan with her hens.
Lucy Gavaghan with her hens.

A Sheffield schoolgirl who helped convince three major supermarkets to stop selling eggs from caged hens has been named the RSPCA Young Animal Enthusiast of the Year.

Lucy Gavaghan, aged 14, started a petition on her mobile phone calling for the supermarket giants Tesco, Morrisons and Asda, to stop selling eggs from caged hens and her tireless campaigning paid off when all three announced they would go cage-free by 2025.

The youngster, who has a flock of rescue hens called Pumpkin, Hazel, Sunshine, Sylvia, Fern and Mildred, picked up her award at this year’s Animal Hero Awards at Grosvenor House in London on Wednesday, September 7.

Lucy said: “I’m so pleased to have won I really didn’t expect to. When I started the petition I never imagined it would get so much support so quickly.

“People feel really strongly about animal welfare and once people started sharing the petition it spread like wildfire.

“I couldn’t believe it when Tesco rang me at school to tell me they were not going to sell eggs from caged hens anymore, it was my best day at school, every one of my teachers burst into tears.

“It all started with a simple petition I started on my mobile phone while I was sitting in the lounge.

“I hope it inspires other people, particularly young people, to take action for animals.”

Mum Jenny added: “Lucy is genuinely impassioned about injustice in the animal world. I’m very proud of her achievements.”

Lucy won the award jointly with Liam Landymore, a campaigner for Dogs Helping Kids which helps raise awareness of cruelty free training methods.

Both were presented with their award by McFly guitarist Tom Fletcher, singer Alesha Dixon and actress Amanda Holden, who hosted the event.

Alesha Dixon congratulated all of the winners.

She added: “It has been so moving, really emotional. You never feel like you are doing enough work and then you come here and realise that collectively there are so many people trying to make a difference to the lives of animals.

“This industry we’re in, entertainment, is all lovely and fabulous, but we have to use that platform responsibly.

“What gives me faith and hope is that there are so many people that are doing great work, and it shows just how many people are compassionate to help animals.

“Events like this will just get bigger and better and it is our job to bring as much attention to them and shine a light on those amazing work to help animals done by the people who are up for awards themselves.”

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