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Downton Abbey Star Joins Cruelty Free International Campaign

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Michael Fox

Anglophiles in America will be sad to see the final credits roll when Downton Abbey takes its final bow on the small screen in 2016, but fans are currently rejoicing at the new role that one of the stars of the iconic TV series has taken– promoting efforts to end the use of dogs in lab experiments.

Known to Downton devotees as footman Andrew “Andy” Parker, actor Michael Fox is among the animal-loving luminaries who have posed alongside his four-pawed pal for a Cruelty Free International campaign. Photographed by famed photographer Rankin, the series of high-profile portraits– which also include photos of former American Idol judge/music mogul Simon Cowell and violinist Vanessa-Mae (a Cruelty Free International global ambassador) with their barking buddies– was created to draw the public’s attention to a somber statistic– that 59,358 dogs (many of them beagles) were used in experiments last year in the United States, and 2,742 canines in the UK suffered the same fate.

Speaking out about the canine companion who stars in his life, Fox stated: “Teddy the Tibetan Terrier is part of my family. Like all dogs, Teddy belongs in a safe, loving environment, not in a laboratory subjected to cruel tests. I am very pleased to join Cruelty Free International in their campaign to stop experiments on dogs and put an end to the suffering.”

Known as the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection when the organization was founded in 1898, Cruelty Free International strives to end animal experimentation in laboratories around the world. In recent years Cruelty Free International’s campaigns have led to an animal testing ban on new cosmetics in the UK and the European Union, with the organization’s Leaping Bunny program helping compassionate consumers purchase cruelty free cosmetic and personal care products.

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Photo Credit: Cruelty Free International