Ruth Harrison (June 6 1920 - June 13 2000) was a British animal welfare activist and author. Her book, 'Animal Machines' had a profound and lasting impact on world agriculture, public opinion and the quality of life of millions of farmed animals.
Concerned with welfare standards at a time when animal production was increasing in scale and mechanization, Ruth Harrison set about investigating the situation in a fair and even-handed way. Reporting her findings in this book, Harrison alerted the public to the undeniable suffering of calves living in veal crates and birds in battery cages.
The work incited Britain's first welfare legislature- the 1968 Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act and also the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes, which was set up by the Council of Europe in 1976.
In Britain, Ruth served on the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, (later the Farm Animal Welfare Council), and on those expert independent committees appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture.
In Strasbourg, she participated in the Council of Europe's standing committee of the convention on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes, as representative of the World Society for the Protection of Animals and, latterly, the Eurogroup for Animal Welfare.
She was deeply committed to the work of the Council of Europe and for the past few years, during her final illness, timed her hospital treatments to ensure that she would be fit enough to travel.