Incorporation as UK Registered Charity: Appealing Declined Application by Charity Commission (July 22nd)


Correspondence received on July 22nd 2019 from The Charity Commission for England and Wales in response to charity application for SURGE formally submitted at the start of 2019.

”We have considered the information provided in your application and on Surge’s website ( to determine whether Surge is furthering exclusively charitable purposes for public benefit.

The organisations strapline is: ‘One mission, end all animal oppression’.

The website describes Surge’s vision:

“Surge a grassroots animal rights organisation determined to create a world where compassion towards all non-human animals is the norm. Our aim is to spread awareness through campaigns, filmmaking and investigative work. Surge is committed to positive community building, teamwork and the abolition of animal use. Our vision is a world in which all animals are free from human-inflicted oppression and violence, our vision is therefore of a vegan world. Surge focuses on veganism as we believe that it is through veganism that we’ll collectively end the oppression of non-human animals.

Our philosophy is that change comes through education, campaigning and community building. Through our many projects and operations, our mission is to push animal rights forward into mainstream public thinking, as well as encouraging unity through community-based activism.”

Regarding carrying out Surge’s purposes, in the application, it says: "the work the organisation does focusses on the dissemination of information regarding veganism and the safeguarding of animals, as these address the issues of animal abuse, climate change and preventable chronic disease.”

The information provided in the application and the website demonstrates that the purpose of Surge is to promote animal rights and to promote veganism as a means to end oppression of animals. Consistent with the legal principles set out above, we do not consider the purposes to be exclusively charitable purposes for public benefit, in particular because it is not against the law to humanely slaughter animals for meat.

The advancement of animal welfare includes any purpose directed towards the prevention or suppression of cruelty to animals or the prevention or relief of suffering by animals. But to be regarded as charitable, organisations promoting animal welfare need to be doing so for the public benefit and need to show elements of mental and moral improvement of mankind itself (the relevant case is Re Moss [1949] 1 All ER 495). The advancement of animal welfare does not extend to purposes relating to the promotion of animal rights or justice for animals or advocating legislation in this connection, which are controversial issues and may be political in nature.

The following examples may help to illustrate the limits of the advancement of animal welfare in charity law.

1. It is not against the law to humanely slaughter animals for meat, so an organisation established to stop animals from going to slaughter would not meet the test of public benefit (the case is Re Cranstoun [1898] 1 IR 431).

2. There are circumstances where animal experimentation benefits medical science in a way which outweighs any consideration of cruelty. Therefore any assumed public benefit in the advancement of public morals would be far outweighed by the detriment to medical science and research and, consequently, to public health (see for example the cases The National Anti-Vivisection Society v IRC [1948] AC 31 and Re Jenkins’ Will Trust [1966] Ch 249).

3. The courts have held that simply providing a sanctuary for animals free from man providing no public access is not charitable because it is not considered as being of benefit to the public (the case is Re Grove Grady [1929]) 1 Ch. 557).

4. Whilst it may be charitable to help animals that lack the care and attention people generally agree they should have, for example because they are abandoned, mistreated or lost, a trust to promote the welfare and care of animals which are already healthy and well-cared for will produce no moral elevation and will therefore not be charitable.”

Surge will now be submitting an appeal regarding the decision made by The Charity Commission for England and Wales.

The objective of the animal rights organisation Surge is for the benefit of the public to receive information regarding animal farming in the UK alongside the varying aspects of a vegan lifestyle, as well as to provide a sanctuary for animals abused and in need of care, with the eventual aim of using the rescue for public education.

Confirmation of application can be checked via public enquiry with The Charity Commission for England and Wales, application submitted under the organisation name SURGE.