Winifred Anna Cavendish-Bentinck ~ Avian Rights Activist

Winifred Anna Cavendish-Bentinck (1863-1954) avian rights activist was born at Murthly Castle. In 1889, Winifed Anna Dallas-Yorke married the sixth duke of Portland and became well known in society circles. A few years after her marriage, Cavendish-Bentinck, now a duchess, threw herself into bird protection activity campaigning against the use of wild bird feathers in the fashion industry. With others opposed to the trade in plumes Cavendish-Bentinck helped found the Society for the Protection of Birds and became its first president, an office she held until 1954. Her proximity to Royal circles gave Cavendish-Bentinck an opportunity to lobby Queen Victoria, which led to some progressive changes in the area of bird exploitation. Cavendish-Bentinck’s work was not just confined to Britain and she involved herself with the suffering of Spanish songbirds. As well as the Society for the Protection of Birds, Cavendish-Bentinck was vice-president of the Royal Scoiety for Protection of Cruelty to Animals and a member of the Animal Defenders Corps. Birds were her primary area of activity, but she also worked with horses and pit ponies. In 1935, Winifred Anna Cavendish-Bentinck was made Dame of the British Empire partly as a result of the mining community of Nottinghamshire which held her in good regard. She outlived her husband by eleven years with whom she had two sons and a daughter.