Any regular readers of our blog will know that I often say it's the people of Brighton who make this such a wonderful place to live, work study and visit. Today we will bring you further proof of that by speaking to a truly inspirational local Brightonian - Marc 'the vet' Abraham. Marc is a vet, author, animal welfare campaigner, and has just been awarded the OBE for Services to Animal Welfare in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Photo of Marc Abraham OBE and Little Jas

  • Tell us about yourself and what you do

As a media vet and animal welfare campaigner my main roles are to try and improve legislation to protect our four-legged friends, as well as help educate the public on all things animal-related. I proudly led the 10-year Lucy’s Law grassroots campaign in Westminster, named after an incredibly brave Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (pictured below next to a photo of Ricky Gervais) rescued from a puppy farm, which successfully changed the law. Lucy’s Law bans the commercial third-party puppy and kitten trade, making all breeders accountable, therefore helping to end cruel puppy farming, as well as irresponsible kitten breeding and selling too. More recently, I also ran the campaign to ban the import of puppies cruelly bred on overseas puppy farms as well, which looks like becoming legislation in England later this year. I’m also responsible for the running of the All-Party Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG) in Westminster, which oversees and supports many other campaigns too, such as helping reduce pet theft, banning greyhound racing, and making scanning of microchips by vets mandatory. 

  • What do you love most about what you do? What’s the best thing about your work?

As far back as I can remember, I only ever wanted to help animals. So I feel extremely privileged to now be in a position to change laws and protect dogs, cats, and all other animals, both right now and well into the future. Growing up, I had no interest in law, politics, or history, but got into campaigning after treating eight dying puppies one night in my Brighton emergency surgery in 2009. That night I was determined to end the suffering which was responsible for the terrible condition they arrived in. Making all dog and cat breeders accountable with Lucy’s Law was the biggest step in ending the cruelty enabled and encouraged by irresponsible breeding and selling, and now means that anyone buying a puppy or kitten must either deal directly with the breeder or consider adopting from a rescue shelter instead. Banning the import of puppies cruelly bred on overseas puppy farms will also help end suffering of puppies and their overseas parents. Educating the public and raising awareness of animal welfare issues also goes a long way to improving and protecting the health and welfare of our pets and other animals.

Photo of Marc Abraham at Brighton College

  • What’s your average day like, or is it ever average?

At the moment, in and amongst all the campaign work, I’m enjoying writing another book. Having campaigned from scratch for over 12 years, including over 300 visits to Westminster where I'm often invited to speak (pictured below), I’ve now helped change five laws, as well as influencing a few others too. Using all my experiences, I’m now keen to share what I’ve learnt, and help anyone out there who wants to change the world do the same; either via behaviour change, awareness raising, changing legislation, or all three! I find swimming in the sea first thing helps with the writing, as well as a visit to the gym later in the day. Virtual meetings are very handy to check-in with MPs, Ministers, and fellow campaigners from my house in Brighton rather than go up to Westminster. I occasionally provide content, like guest blogs, for pet brands which helps pay the bills, and also enjoy a regular guest spot on BBC Radio Sussex discussing pet-related news, giving tips and advice, plus promoting local rescue centres like Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, out near Ringmer. When the world opens back up again, I look forward to restarting my regular visits to local schools (pictured above), and chatting to pupils about caring for animals, including protecting local wildlife.

Photo of Marc Abraham

  • What is the biggest challenge or opportunity for you at the moment?

By far the biggest challenge at the moment is keeping on top of all the different animal welfare campaigns, petitions, meetings with MPs and Ministers, and debates going on in Westminster. There are so many exciting, opportunities for positive change right now, and working alongside animal-loving politicians like Brighton’s own Caroline Lucas MP, likeminded animal welfare organisations, as well as fellow passionate grassroots campaigners, it really is possible to improve and protect the lives of dogs, cats, and other animals on a massive scale. My new book will show both how and what can be achieved to protect the most vulnerable, with the minimal resources available and accessible to everyone; like e-petitions, effective use of social media, and engaging celebrities like Ricky Gervais (pictured below), which can make a huge impact on your campaign and ultimately making a positive difference.

  • Have you got anything new planned for the rest of the year?

Finishing this book, organising a few more meetings for APDAWG, and hopefully making more progress with all the campaigning. Like most meetings over the last year or so, they’re all virtual now, much easier to attend, and open to all dog-lovers if you sign up to the free newsletter at apdawg.co.uk. This autumn we’re looking to discuss assistance dogs and accessibility, how to safely look after your dog with limited finances, and our annual Unsung Heroes event where we hear about incredible work being done to protect dogs by individuals, campaigns, and organisations without the budget for huge PR and awareness campaigns. I’ve also just recently launched an animal welfare TV channel featuring loads of unseen nature and wildlife documentaries which can be found at marcthevet.tv.

  • What do you love most about Brighton?

As well as our amazing city, I love being by (and in!) the sea, our amazing sunsets, am obsessed with the winter starling murmurations around the Palace Pier, exploring the incredible South Downs, and of course supporting the mighty Brighton and Hove Albion... SEAGULLS!!


Further Information

Marc Abraham OBE, BVM&S MRCVS is a multi-award winning veterinary surgeon who qualified from Edinburgh University in 1995. In his career he has worked as both a small animal and emergency vet in Brighton, a TV vet on numerous shows including BBC Breakfast, This Morning, and Sky News; as well as volunteering overseas with numerous charities, including helping shut down dogmeat farms in South Korea, neutering dogs and cats in the Amazon, and operating on a moonbear in China. Marc is the co-founder and secretariat of the All-Party Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG), founder of puppy farm awareness campaign PupAid, and also the producer of US movie documentary Dog By Dog. Marc now campaigns to change laws to protect animals in the UK and beyond, and his latest book Lucy’s Law; The Story of a Little Dog Who Changed the World (pictured below) is available from Amazon and all good bookshops.

To find out more about Marc follow him on Twitter @marcthevet and Facebook Marc the Vet.

Photo of Lucy's Law book cover and Marc Abraham with Ricky Gervais

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