Pop star, actor and committed activist WILL YOUNG is tirelessly devoting his time and efforts to encourage our support to sign his new petition which demands a stop to any form of testing on animals, most specifically dogs.

Will has previously tied himself to a tree in protest against the building of the Newbury bypass. Handcuffing himself to the puppy farm wasn’t the first time Will had acted upon something he feels strongly about. 

Will has been on our radar as a performer for over 20 years now since that very first series of Pop Idol back in 2002. But Will has other passions, in particular politics, as subject he studied at A-level and university. 

Will Young (Photo: Michael Wharley)

We spoke to Will recently about his campaign, and a range of other subjects he feels strongly about. Hi petition is gaining momentum but Will is the first to admit, there’s a long way to go to get the message out there.

We asked him when the campaign first took hold of him and when he knew it was important for him to take action……

“It would be the puppy farm in Cambridgeshire. They breed up to 2000 beagles a year. It is a puppy farm, even though puppy farms were banned years ago. They have no basic decency and safety for example. There is no limit on the amount of litters that a female dog has. Whereas there is for domestic dogs, there’s no requirement for how many years they’re played out. So they could be bled out for ten years. That is literally their life.

All of this stuff has been ignored, by the way, by people in government. So I think that was pretty shocking.”

That’s probably a fact many people, many millions of people probably don’t realise. And I guess that’s the experience you’ve had since you started this this campaign.

“Yeah, This is really why I’m doing all this press, you know, and talking about it, because I think it’s really important that people know this still goes on. So they can make an informed decision as to whether they want it in this country.

Small monkeys are still tested on in this country. Songbirds are tested on horses are tested. People might think surely that pain is allowed because it’s curing diseases. But the answer is it just isn’t. You know, the success rate of testing on any animals when it moves to human trials is less than 10%. There are much better scientific methods now that recreate this.

So what’s happening is we have a government of the day that just haven’t focused on this issue because, one, there’s a lot of issues to focus on. I get that. And two in my opinion, if they don’t care about human rights, they’re not going to care about animal rights.

This week it’s homeless people and I’m a patron of a homeless charity. What’s the Home Secretary (referring to Suella Braverman) going to go with next? Migrants this week. It’s terrifying, but that’s probably why there hasn’t been any movement under this government.

I think by bringing it to people’s attention, and I have this parliamentary petition asking for the immediate banning of testing on dogs. It allows people at least to, if they love dogs and love animals, put their name to it and share it as well.”

Will Young handcuffed himself to the gates of the breeding facility (Photo: Will Young)

I guess before you started the petition, and for your own benefit, you needed to get everything in your head that the facts were right, the figures were right. Am I saying the right thing by letting people know about the right information? And you’ve clearly done that?

Oh, yeah. It’s been at least 2 or 3 years. I mean, I handcuff myself to the gates of the puppy breeding farm almost 2 or 3 years ago now. I can’t remember. But, you know, since then, I’ve been speaking to people like Animal Aid and Chris Packham. You know, people often think that sort of animal rights people can be, you know, the activists that are disrupting things. But it’s not, these are extremely clever, caring, successful people have just sort of given me the facts, really, and all want to see animals cared for and also science progressing in the right way.”

You’ve got all these powerful people who know the facts and the figures and the influences. But at the end of the day it’s people on the street who are going to have the loudest voice.

Yeah, it’s been great. It’s been really good. I’m very impatient and I’m very results driven, so I sort of want a million signatures, you know? I just think. Why? How? How can you not have a million signatures? I want every dog owner in this country to sign. I mean, that’s that for 13, 14 million.

You’re very right. People on the streets do have the voice, and we can forget that. Particularly when we feel we haven’t been heard with by a government, we can forget that. But we are a democracy and we do have power. And sometimes you just need to shout, shout about it.”

So what’s the reaction been like generally? Because you’re very much down there, aren’t you, with the people who care, love, support our animals, our dogs in particular.

Well, I think, to be honest I’ve been really pleasantly surprised.

I’ve got a meeting today with the shadow Chancellor. After this, I’m going up to London to meet him. And, you know, it’s been really, really positive. And he reached out. I think that that’s been so heartwarming because as a citizen watching a government that is imploding and feels so self-serving it can be quite traumatising, because it can make you feel helpless. So having a party that is actually caring and making time when they’ve got a lot of things to get right in this country is very heart warming, actually, and makes me feel a lot more optimistic about where this country can go.

If you’ve got a. Party that’s caring for animal rights normally means that they care for human rights or the other way around. Of course that they actually want to make a difference. And so that’s. That’s exciting to me.”

Will Young with his dog Domino (Photo: Will Young)

I’m not digressing too far from the subject here, I think it’s all linked. You’ve said if the future goes the way you don’t really want it to go, you would the back door from this country.

Well, I don’t think you can feel safe as a gay person in this country under this government. Absolutely not.”

I mean, you’ve got a home secretary (referring to Suella Braverman) and if you fall under that sort of group of wherever the home secretary wants to sort of fire her bile and rhetoric, that’s scary. You know, it’s scary. I’m a patron of a homeless charity. It’s scary that you have someone high up in government going, don’t give them tents. I mean, what the f***? You know? I mean, that is. What the f*** is going on?”

My charity are worried – I’m doing a fund raiser for them in two weeks in this area, by the way, in Newbury. Think they can’t give tents to homeless people because of someone in power spewing out? It’s just endless. And that’s terrifying to me as a citizen.”

These decisions are affecting people right now. Homeless people need protection, dogs need protection right now. So depriving them of this fundamental stuff…….

“They say this stuff. It will never happen, by the way. So this is what’s even worse. There are certain politicians that will just say things. They know it’s never going to happen. But the hatred. The prejudice. And the danger that it spreads. Is just as bad as whether it happens. And what really annoys me is that these people follow. It’s terrifying.”

You say you’ve got a meeting in London. Obviously, you’re doing a lot of press and media about the campaign. Realistically, how long is it going to take before you can get this petition delivered? Because you’ve told us it has to happen now.

“I don’t know. But, you know, I’ll just keep on going. There’s some really good people out there and the British people are good, wicked people. You know, that’s the thing to focus on when you’ve got people in power that don’t care. Don’t spread the hate in your own life. Spread kindness. Spread charity. Spread love. Do the best for your fellow humans and you know, your fellow animals that share this earth with us. And that’s what gets you through. So however long it takes, it takes. But it will happen because I know that we are good people in this country.”

Last count it was just shy of 30,000 signatures, I think, which is phenomenal, isn’t it?

“Yeah, it’s doing really well, but it’s really important people share it and sign it. And also by sharing it, they’re letting other people know this goes on. You know, do you want to stand for this in this country? No, you don’t. So it builds up momentum. So it’s great.”

Will Young (Photo: Michael Wharley)

You’ve got a fundraiser coming up in Newbury for the homeless charity. But I guess all of your attention is focused on this petition for now.

Yeah. Just doing that. And then I’ve got an album next year and some more acting things. So that’s really fun. That sort of, you know, you can focus on lots of lots of things at the same time.”

Look at that cheeky smile. Like you’ve got an album under your belt already, haven’t you?

“I do.”

Well, tell us quickly before we leave. This is a good one, isn’t it?

“I think it’s brilliant. Yeah, Brilliant Pop album. Really? Very, very excited about it, actually. Yeah, we’re really, really excited. It’s. It’s all come together sort of fairly quickly now. Yeah. So that, that’s, we’ll just start doing photos and things for that in the new year.”

Your last album was fun. I’m not saying it because your sat in front of me in your kitchen and I’m expecting a cup of tea, but it was really good. It was one of those that stays on our music systems for a long time. So we’ve got high hopes for the next one.

“Well, so do I. Yeah, I’ve got very high hopes.”

And the tour to go with it as well?

“Yeah, I’ll be touring in the autumn. Yeah, very long tour, but it’s slightly different, different format than I’ve ever done before, which I’m really excited about. So that’s something I’ve wanted to do for 23 years, so that that should be really fun.”

Right? I’ll let you go because I know you have a lot to do, but there’s talk about Girls Aloud for Glastonbury next year. Girls Aloud, of course, came from a music talent show. Mr. William Young came from a music talent show too. Can we see you on the main stage at Glastonbury in the future?

“Yeah, I could think I could probably. I did Glastonbury this year. I think I could probably get maybe like the afternoon slots at one stage. So maybe a few more years I’ll get the afternoon, you know, the afternoon slot.”

When I tell people we’re interviewing you they’re going, oh Will Young, legend. So it appears that legend stage slot needs to be yours.

“Yeah, I think I could get there. Yeah, I think. I think it will. I think it will happen. Let’s put it out in the ether.”

Will, best of luck with the campaign, I’m sure you’d be the first to admit it’s a long slog, but it’s one you’re absolutely dedicated to.

“Oh, yeah. This isn’t a joke. No, this isn’t a one day thing. This has already been doing it for two years.”

You can sign Will Young’s petition – HERE