Animal rights activist nurse sacked after turkey found in flat

Animal rights activist nurse sacked after turkey found in flat

A veterinary nurse who supported an animal liberation movement was sacked after a police raid found she was keeping a rescued turkey in her flat.

An employment tribunal heard “ethical vegan” Shakira Free Miles had rescued the “unwell” bird, called Dorothy and took it to an animal hospital as it could not stand.

However, the turkey was discovered by officers in the university-provided home she lived in while was working for the Royal Veterinary College by police investigating her potential involvement in activist group the Animal Liberation Front.

A subsequent RCV investigation into the award-winning nurse uncovered social media posts where Ms Free Miles was seen holding a piglet in Barcelona under the heading ‘Meat the Victims – One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws’.

She was also found to to have treated a rabbit that had been taken during a raid on a farm and featured in a Channel 4 documentary called ‘How to steal pigs and influence people’.

After being sacked for gross misconduct Ms Free Miles attempted to sue claiming she had been discriminated against for her ethical veganism beliefs and that she had been unfairly dismissed. But the panel found that her trespassing and removing animals in a bid to reduce the suffering of animals was not a philosophical belief.

Ms Free Miles, who joined RVC in 2015, was stationed at its Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital in Camden, London, and in 2016, she was named Veterinary Nurse of the Year out of 400 nominations at the Ceva Awards for Animal Welfare. At the time of the incident in 2019, she lived in a flat owned by the university.

The panel also heard: “She knew that she was not allowed to have animals in her flat but had felt she had to do something as otherwise the turkey would have died.”