Richard Adams – a man of stories and animals
Watership Down author and animal welfare campaigner dies, aged 96
Richard Adams, author of the classic novel Watership Down, has died aged 96. Adams, who passed away on Christmas Eve, was a lifelong defender of animals.
In 2011, we were delighted that Richard joined numerous politicians, scientists, and celebrities —including comedian Ricky Gervais, Queen guitarist Brian May and Dr Jane Goodall — to support our campaign to end the UK’s involvement in the cruel trade in wild-caught primates for research.
Throughout his writing career, Richard drew on his affection for wildlife. He will be most fondly remembered for his novel Watership Down, the story of a colony of rabbits travelling across the country in search of a new home when their burrow is destroyed. The book has sold over 50 million copies worldwide. Its origins lie in the author’s deep-rooted love of animals formed growing up in the Berkshire countryside.
His subsequent book, the best-selling novel The Plague Dogs, explored the ethics of animal testing through the tale of two dogs who escape from a laboratory. The novel describes experiments on dogs in graphic detail, and questions the need for animal experiments as well as the actions of the government and the tabloid press.
In addition to his involvement with Cruelty Free International to raise awareness about the cruelties of the trade in primates for research, Richard served as president of the RSPCA in the 1980s and spoke out publicly against the annual slaughter of seals in Canada.
His dedicated and passionate campaigning for the welfare of animals will not be forgotten.
A new animated series of Watership Down, co-produced by the BBC and Netflix, is due to be aired later this year.