Paul O’Grady, the beloved British television personality and unwavering animal advocate, has been posthumously named PETA UK’s Person of the Year for his commitment to helping animals.
O’Grady, who passed away in March 2023 at the age of 67, was a vocal supporter of PETA’s campaigns to end animal cruelty, including the Fur Free Britain campaign and the fight for animal welfare in slaughterhouses. Privately, he was also a generous donor to animal shelters and sanctuaries, and he actively campaigned for better treatment for animals in circuses and other entertainment venues.
PETA UK’s Vice President of Programmes, Elisa Allen, said, “Paul O’Grady was a true champion for animals. He never wavered in his belief that all animals deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, and he used his platform to educate the public about the horrors of animal cruelty. We are incredibly honored to posthumously name him our Person of the Year.”
O’Grady’s dedication to animal welfare was evident throughout his career. He frequently Featured his own treasured companion animals–most notably, Olga, his Cairn Terrier–on The Paul O’Grady Show and later hosted For the Love of Dogs. The latter shone a light on the work undertaken by Battersea Home for Cats and Dogs, of which O’Grady was a key ambassador, and sought to find loving homes for animals in need of support. He also wrote several books about animals, including Me and My Animals and The Little Book of Animal Wisdom.
Following his death in March, O’Grady’s friends and supporters raised over £480,000 as part of a Battersea tribute fund. As a fitting memorial, Battersea has announced that it will be naming its new veterinary hospital after the star. A further five animal charities that had close ties to O’Grady will also receive £20,000 each, to support their work. These have been confirmed as Freshfields Animal Rescue, Carla Lane Animals in Need, the Oldies Club, StreetVet, and the RSPCA Ashford Garden Cattery, of which he was the president.
In his life O’Grady said, “It is our duty to treat animals with respect.” He lived and worked by this principle until he passed away, and continues to be a beacon of animal advocacy. His legacy lives on and is now formally recognised by PETA UK.